Mrs Agnes Teiko Nyemi-Tei, the Director, Down Syndrome Ghana Foundation, has appealed to parents of children with Down syndrome to desist from hiding them from public places.
She said the condition, where parents of children with special needs like Down syndrome, felt ashamed of their children, and preferred to hide them from the eyes of the public was completely wrong and worsened the condition of the children.
The worlddownsyndromeday.org defines Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) as a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socioeconomic lines in approximately one in 800 live births.
It usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.
Mrs Nyemi-Tei said: “Hiding your child does not do any good to your child. Let’s come out, showcase our children, and let’s not be afraid that they will be marginalized or something.
“So if you are going to church or market, go with him or her. Just try hard to accept your child’s condition, set achievable standards for the child and work at it. Because I believe that even though they have a little intellectual disability, there are a lot of things they can do if they are exposed to them.”
In sharing her experience as a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, Mrs Nyemi-Teiko, said: “Yesterday I was peeling cassava, she just brought a bowl, fetched water and was washing it. She put it in a cooking utensil for us to cook and it was lovely. Everything you do, she wants to do same. She can wash her own undies and handkerchiefs; she can get dressed herself and do everything herself.
“It was difficult for me when my child was diagnosed of it but I have come to accept it. Such children like music and dancing, so I have enrolled her in a dance factory and she’s doing well. She doesn’t attend a special school but the normal school and I think that is helping a lot,” she added.
The Director cautioned parents with such children to desist from moving from spiritualists to herbalists to seek solutions to the conditions, and asked some s-called Prophets with no knowledge on Down syndrome to stop giving unrealistic and incapable directions to such desperate parents.
March 21, 2022 is World Down Syndrome, observed on the theme: “We Decide”.
According to the United Nations, it is not yet know why down syndrome occurs, however, it has always been a part of the human condition.
The UN admonished people around the world to advocate full inclusion in society for people with Down syndrome and for everyone.
It said the estimated incidence of Down syndrome was between one in 1,000 to one in 1,100 live births worldwide and each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children were born with this chromosome disorder.
The quality of life of people with Down syndrome could be improved by meeting their health care needs, including regular check-ups with health professionals to monitor mental and physical condition and to provide timely intervention.
Such timely interventions include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling or special education.
The UN also states that individuals with Down syndrome could achieve optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community based support systems such as inclusive education at all levels.
This facilitated their participation in mainstream society and the fulfillment of their personal potential.
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