By Oke Odunmorayo
22 March 2023 |
What is Down Syndrome? Down Syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person is born with an extra chromosome. People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 and this extra copy changes how one’s body and brain develop, resulting in both mental and physical challenges. In honour of World Down Syndrome…
What is Down Syndrome? Down Syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person is born with an extra chromosome. People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 and this extra copy changes how one’s body and brain develop, resulting in both mental and physical challenges.
In honour of World Down Syndrome Day, we have compiled a list of things you can do to show care, love and understanding to anyone with this condition around you.
These are ways to support and raise awareness of their condition and how you can make them feel safe and comfortable with you through communication and everyday interaction.
Ahead are 10 ways you can support friends or loved ones that are on the spectrum;
1. Avoid referring to people with Down syndrome as “victims” or “suffer from”. They are first and foremost human beings who deserve to be treated with as much respect and recognition as the next person. They have Down syndrome, they are not unfortunate or poor.
2. Exercise patience while having a conversation with the person, giving them enough time to first understand the question and then give the expected response.
3. Down Syndrome causes changes in a person’s physical development and abilities. Some physical signs include; a flat face, a short neck, small hands and feet etc. So it’s essential to be careful with the type of physical activities to involve them in, ensuring they are not exposed to any harm.
4. People with Down syndrome usually have some intellectual disability, this means they typically develop at a slower pace and take more time in learning new things. They may need more help with learning a new task or understanding concepts.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t fit into classrooms and learning environments, it only means that they need extra care.
5. Familiarity is important to people with Down syndrome because they thrive well with routines. Maintaining a routine can make daily activities easier for them and less challenging. So ensure their schedule is the same 99% of the time.
6. They can participate in regular fun classroom activities and they enjoy everything – from music to art to sports. They have different personalities too, some being more bold and outgoing than others which is normal. In no way should they be stereotyped or treated as outcasts.
7. Ensure they feel included in every activity according to their capacity. This also means engaging them in light chores around the house, for example, vacuuming, laundry, cooking.
8. Always be considerate and offer them guidance and help in a kind way.
9. Ask the parents, caretaker or any healthcare provider for what support they might need.
10. Understand that Down syndrome is individual. One person with it may act differently in comparison to another person with the same condition.