Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shame? Embarrassment? How about awareness?


According to the Oxford Diction.
Definition of awareness


[mass noun]
  • knowledge or perception of a situation or fact:we need to raise public awareness of the issuethere is a lack of awareness of the risks
  • concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development:a growing environmental awarenesshis political awareness developed

World Down Syndrome Day is quickly approaching.  March 21.  

I enjoy reading about how people with Down Syndrome are viewed in other countries.  This article caught my attention and it actually is kind of depressing.  How do we change these views?  How to we change perceptions?  

from BBC news;


Muscat - 
In Oman, one child in every 400 has Down syndrome. Though these children can develop with proper support, families do not come forward with their condition because of embarrassment. Also, there is a need for more facilities in the country for bringing them to the mainstream.
“There are over 500 children with Down syndrome in Oman but only 165 are registered with The Down’s Syndrome Parent Support Group (DSPSG) because many parents think it is a shame for them to come forward and talk about the condition of their children. One in every 400 children born has Down syndrome here but in developed countries the figure is 1/800 to 1/1,000,” Zuwaina al Barwani, co-chairperson of DSPSG, said.
“Children with Down syndrome crave to be accepted just like their siblings, have unique personalities and are loving and affectionate. They must be accepted within the community. However, we need to make compromises so that their educational needs can be met in the classroom and for this we need proper facilities in Oman.”
According to Zuwaina, every year, the group joins the rest of the world to celebrate the Down syndrome event to seek community support and achieve dignity, equal rights and a better life for such children.
“We will observe World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 with a wide range of activities at Muscat Grand Mall and we would like to encourage many organisations to observe this special day together with the community in order to create awareness in Oman about the condition and that these children are a part of us,” she said. The activities will include awareness lectures, games for children, henna, face painting and much more. “We don't only meet on the World Down Syndrome Day;  25-30 children with the condition meet every Saturday at the Association for Early Intervention Centre for Children with Special Needs, where parents discuss their child's development with a specialist,” Zuwaina said.
Since the reorganisation of DSPSG in 2006 (it was founded in 2003), there has been an increase in the number of children attending the weekly sessions as parents have recognised the benefits of bringing their children to these sessions.
The sessions involve providing specialist services such as physio and speech therapy and special need teacher-parent consultation. On what could be causing the increasing number of such cases, Zuwaina said, “Research was done but never completed. Researchers needed more time but they say the rise could be related to environment, air and water pollution,” she said.
DSPSG is the only group in Oman where the children receive specialist help and parents meet to exchange ideas and experiences. The group works under the umbrella of the Association for Early Intervention Centre for Children with Special Needs with Special Needs. However, it does not receive any financial support from the association.

Be gentle.

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