Mrs Rose Mordi, the President, Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN), has appealed to the Federal Government to empower its members with various skills in spite of their health challenges.Mordi made the appeal on Friday in Lagos while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the 2021 World Down Syndrome Day to be marked on March 21.
She said the World Down Syndrome Day is an occasion where people come together to raise awareness and advocate the rights, inclusion and wellbeing of people with Down syndrome.She added that people with down syndrome deserve love and care from parents, community and government with no form of discrimination and stigmatisation.According to her, education, proper care, capacity building and creativity will improve their quality of life; reduce dependency on families and society.She said that government should invest in people with Down syndrome by building their capacity.Mordi said that government should engage them in skill acquisition programmes that would make them productive and financially independent so as to contribute their quota to the nation’s development.“
Government should provide facilities for specialised education in schools to enhance their educational skills.“We want an inclusive education where people with the condition will grow and learn with other children,” she said.Mordi said the celebration of Down syndrome day is to focus on independence, self-advocacy and freedom of choices for people with the condition.She explained that Down syndrome was a chromosomal disorder also known as trisomy 21, associated with delay in cognitive ability,
physical growth and particular set of facial characteristics.She said, “Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21.“It is associated with physical growth delays, facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability.”Mordi said the world observed World Down Syndrome Day every March 21, adding that the day was selected to signify the uniqueness of the condition.“In every cell in the human body, there is a nucleus where genetic material is stored in genes.“Genes carry the codes responsible for inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes.“
The nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.”She said some common physical traits of Down syndrome include low muscle tone, small stature and an upward slant to the eyes, among others.Mordi added that each person with the condition was a unique individual and may possess various characteristics to different degrees.She said the disorder could be identified during pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic and genetic testing or by direct observation.The DSFN President, however, urged parents of children with Down syndrome to always love and support them to build their future as there was no cure for the condition.“Parents should be more conscious of how to improve the lives of their children with Down syndrome, rather than hiding them away or even taking or terminating their lives as was the situation in some cases.“We should teach our children to behave well,
even better than us. It is genetic but parents have active roles to play in the lives of their children.“People with Down syndrome have dreams and aspirations, both of which are key to their self-esteem and feelings of competency.
But they are often told what to do and when to do it.“This is where a growing sense of independence and desire for control for an individual with down syndrome can collide with prolonged and active parental and caregiver involvement,’’ she said.(NAN)