An estimated 100 babies are born with Down’s Syndrome each year, and according to the Down Syndrome Association of Namibian (DSAN), about 1 000 babies are living with the condition at present in Namibia.
In South Africa alone, an estimated 700 babies are born with Down’s Syndrome annually, and it remains the most common genetic disorder world over.
In light of this, DSAN will be celebrating the Namibia Down Syndrome Day on 21 October 2017 at the Eros Primary School Sports field, from 11h00 to 16h00, the association has said.
October is World Down Syndrome month during which the world community raises awareness about Down syndrome (DS).
“We advocate for inclusion of people with DS in schools and places of work and appropriate health care services and other care.
"We also advocate for acceptance of people with DS who are with their extra chromosome, really just people who have dreams, ambitions, talents and emotions,” said DSAN.
Family members, caretakers and friends of persons with DS are welcome to join the celebrations, the association also said.
“Bring your blankets and picnic baskets, or buy drinks and food at the venue. For the kids with DS and their siblings, DSAN will provide a lunch pack. There will be music, exercise fun activities, jump castle, water slide, and ball games. For more information, contact Anita @ 0814069851, Eline @ 0811244202 or Shareen @ 0811240982,” said the association.
Since 2012 when the Down Syndrome Association of Namibia (DSAN) was established, the latter has been reaching out to register people with DS to better assist them with daily life challenges that come with the condition.
“Through public and private medical aid channels, we have assisted quite a few babies and young children to undergo heart operations in Cape Town and at the Central Hospital Cardiac Unit. We also guide those who care for young kids with DS with early intervention measures such as physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy,” said DSAN.
The association also help parents and caretakers find a place in their local kindergarten or primary school, and even at the schools for children with special needs like Moreson and Dagbreek.
“We are working on a pilot program with UNAM, NIED and the Ministry of Education to place learners with DS into regular schools while supporting the teacher and school management with the required learning methods and tools. We strongly believe that parents or caretakers play a crucial role in the education of the child with challenges, and encourage their activities,” they said.
Using continuous professional development courses, the pilot aims to prepare more teachers for inclusive education practices.
With the right support, kids can learn and live a healthy, happy and productive life, DSAN affirmed.
DSAN is seeking ways to support young adults in the workplace, but the association has said advocacy still needs to be adequately energised.
“We already have a few young adults employed in sheltered workplaces, and going forward we will be drawing on their achievements,” they said.
DSAN also encourages access to the Government disability grant system.
“We explain the application procedures at our workshops and information events, and also when people approach us by phone or email,” they added.
More in general DSAN shares information on all the support people with DS may need.
“We do not run a school, we are not doctors, and we do not know it all; but as parents of children with DS we gladly share our experiences and what we have learnt so far,” they concluded.