As a parent, knowing that your child has Down syndrome can be very scaring and confusing. You may not know what to do to ensure the comfort of your child while at the same time, bringing them in the right manner.
Actions that will help you cope:
- Assemble a team of professionals –Find a team of health care providers, teachers, and therapists that you trust to work with you in providing the best care for your child.
- Seek out other families – Support from those who have had similar experiences with a Down syndrome child can be very beneficial. It is possible to find these groups through local hospitals, physicians, schools and the Internet.
- Take time to learn the right information on Down Syndrome – Immense strides have been made in recent years in improving the lives people who have Down syndrome. Most live with their families, go to mainstream schools and have various jobs as adults. People with Down syndrome can lead fulfilling lives.
In Kenya, the following organizations also support and educate about Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome Society of Kenya
A non-profit organization working for the rights and welfare of persons living with Down syndrome. The society has a national membership of people living with Down syndrome, parents, siblings and affiliate groups in Kenya. I have interacted with some members and officials from this group and I must say that they are doing a great job.
They try to bring together people living with Down syndrome, their families, relatives and friends. Moreover, they have a WhatsApp group and also have meetings from time to time. In these meetings, they talk about their journeys, the challenges they face as well as their happy times. They advise one another on diets, education, behavioral changes and many more. If you want to help in any way or participate in their activities, look for their contact information on their website http://dssk.or.ke/
Special Needs Africa
Their mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disorders like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and their families https://specialneedsafrica.com/
The founder, Sara Galand has worked in Nairobi identifying individuals that are in need of specialized care and treatment. This organization was created to address Africa’s negative stigmatization of people with special needs. In addition, they also spend months studying and getting to know organizations and their members before funding them.
I am more conversant with Down syndrome society of Kenya. I have attended their meetings and participated in some of their activities. There is a wide information gap and a lot that needs to be done to create awareness on this condition. If we can join hands with these organizations, we can bridge the information gap exist. Cases of discrimination will decrease as many people will embrace people living with Down syndrome, autism and other conditions.