The idea of a facility to help children with Down Syndrome was first mooted in 1988 by a group of Kiwanians from the Kiwanis Club of Kuala Lumpur. Down Syndrome was decided upon because a survey showed that there was no organisation to represent or help children with Down Syndrome at that time. It was through this initial discussion that the first Down Syndrome Centre was born. Located at 59, Jalan Gasing, it started with 35 children with Down Syndrome on September 1989. The centre was subsequently declared open by Datuk Dr. Siti Hasmah, the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed.
To ensure that what was set up would be properly managed, the Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation ( KDSF ) was formed in 1990. The Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation is a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status. It is committed to the welfare of children with Down Syndrome, its main focus being the education of these children below 6 years old.
The KDSF now manages 7 Down Syndrome Centres in Malaysia – at Petaling Jaya, Johore Bahru, Klang, Seremban, Melaka,Kota Kinabalu and Kulai. These Centres implement the Early Intervention Programme, a Special Needs Education Programme using the Robert Dellar’s Curriculum.