Parents are advised not to hide their children with Down syndrome
Ms. Agnes Teiko Nyemi-Tei, Director of the Down Syndrome Ghana Foundation, called on parents of children with Down syndrome to refrain from hiding them in public places.
She said the condition, where parents of children with special needs like Down syndrome, were ashamed of their children and preferred to hide them from the public eye was completely wrong and made the children’s condition worse.
The worlddownsyndromeday.org defines Down syndrome (or trisomy 21) as a natural chromosomal arrangement that has always been part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender, or socioeconomic criteria in approximately one live birth out of 800.
It typically causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical impairment and associated medical problems.
Ms Nyemi-Tei said: “Hiding your child does your child no good. Let’s go out, introduce our kids, and don’t be afraid they’ll be marginalized or anything.
“So if you go to church or to the market, go with him or her. Just try to accept your child’s condition, set achievable standards for the child, and work on it. Because I believe that even if they have a little intellectual disability, there are a lot of things they can do if exposed to it.
Sharing her experience as a mother of a child with Down syndrome, Ms Nyemi-Teiko said: “Yesterday I was peeling cassava, she just brought a bowl, got some water and put it in. washed. She put it in a kitchen utensil so we could cook and it was lovely. Everything you do, she wants to do the same. She can wash her own underwear and handkerchiefs; she can dress herself and do everything herself.
“It was difficult for me when my child was diagnosed with it, but I ended up accepting it. These children love music and dancing, so I enrolled her in a dance factory and she is doing well She doesn’t go to a special school but the normal school and I think that helps a lot,” she added.
The director warned parents with such children to refrain from switching from spiritualists to herbalists to seek solutions to the conditions, and asked some so-called prophets without any knowledge of Down syndrome to stop giving unrealistic and incapable instructions to such desperate parents.
March 21, 2022 is the global trisomy 21, observed on the theme: “We decide”.
According to the United Nations, it is not yet known why Down syndrome occurs, however, it has always been part of the human condition.
The UN has urged people around the world to advocate for the full integration into society of people with Down syndrome and everyone else.
He said the estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between one in 1,000 and one in 1,100 live births worldwide and every year around 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosomal abnormality.
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 their mental and physical status and to intervene in timely.
These timely interventions include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling or special education.
The UN also states that people with Down syndrome could achieve an optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical advice and community support systems such as inclusive education at all levels.
This has facilitated their participation in society at large and the realization of their personal potential.