Down Syndrome Day
Moscow 21 March 2014
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)
This year WDSD fell on 21 March, the theme being, ‘Health and Wellbeing – Accessibility and Equality for All’.
RIA Novosti writes that the first WDSD was held in 2006. The decision to hold it was taken on the initiative of the international and European Down Syndrome Associations at the sixth international symposium on the subject which took place in Palma, Majorca. The UN General Assembly proposed that from 2012 all states and international organisations should observe WDSD so that the public might be better informed about the syndrome and in order to draw attention to the need to improve the quality of life of those affected. The day and the month symbolise the nature of the pathology since Down Syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, involves the presence of three chromosomes 21 instead of two.
Children having the disorder develop more slowly, and are late in starting to walk and talk. They are, however, educable, with many being able to take up an occupation, complete a course of higher education, find employment and start a family. International statistics show that 60% of children with disorders falling within the autistic spectrum can enjoy full lives in the community given early identification of those belonging to the ‘at risk’ group, the earliest possible treatment and socialisation.
In the run-up to the day of the special people, CoorDown, an association for those with the syndrome, shot a video in which 15 people who have the condition tell a mother, how life might turn out for the Down baby whom she is expecting.
The charity, Downs Side Up, suggests observing WDSD in a number of different ways. People with the syndrome are often seen as having a sunny nature. So for a third year in a row representatives of the organisation suggest that a way of reminding everyone about the event would be by adding the sun to their avatar on social networking sites. Another way of making a statement would be to wear an orange article of clothing. The charity, suggests that people should have their photograph taken together wearing orange and send the snaps to the organisation’s Facebook group by 25 March. Those producing the most interesting photographs will receive a prize.
In addition, in honour of the WDSD, Downs Side Up provided staff with orange drinks called ‘Sunny Disposition’ to fend off colds in return for a small donation. Veles-Kapital, a company, collected 60,000 roubles by doing something similar last year. This paid for 20 families with Down Syndrome children to have consultations with psychological specialists. This is not the first year that the company has supported the charity.
Another suggestion made by the charity is simple but extremely important. It is that on WDSD the person with Down Syndrome should preferably be seen as a special person. Representatives of the charity are convinced that the main danger for people with special needs is not health problems but the prejudices held by those around them.
Downs Side Up is a Russian NGO which supports families, the state and NGOs in educating and bringing up Down Syndrome children and integrating them in society. It also influences the public to view people with disabilities positively.
Author: Darya Shapovalova