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People with Down Syndrome celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

People with Down syndrome celebrate World Down Syndrome Day by calling for the right to live a happy and healthy life!

(Video link) https://youtu.be/kgw-xvlcwZ8

To mark World Down Syndrome Day 2018 (21st March), the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association has produced an awareness video that celebrates diversity. In ‘Dear Health Professionals’ 14 self-advocates from the Down syndrome community throughout New Zealand invite and challenge Health Professionals to join them in sharing what they bring to the community. These self-advocates include Abigail, who has just secured employment after completing a certificate at Unitec, Edward who has experienced “a few health challenges,” which hasn’t stopped him from winning a gold medal for New Zealand in the Special Olympics, and Alex who is fluent in Te reo Māori and teaches kapa haka in the community.

Zandra Vaccarino (National Executive Officer, NZDSA) says, “Health and Allied Health professionals have a crucial role to play in correcting myths and changing society’s perceptions and narratives about Down syndrome, while also providing valuable and appropriate health care and support.”

The awareness video is part of the international #WhatIBringToMyCommunity campaign, led by World Down Syndrome Day - https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/ The aim of #WhatIBringToMyCommunity is to empower people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to be fully included in the community -

• Explain how people with Down syndrome can and do make meaningful contributions throughout their lives, whether in schools, workplaces, the community, public and political life, culture, media, recreation, leisure and sport;
• Explain how negative attitudes and a lack of knowledge prevent people with Down syndrome from having opportunities to make contributions;
• Empower people with Down syndrome (and those supporting them) to advocate for their rights and opportunities to make meaningful contributions and
• Reach out to key stakeholders including health professionals and the wider community to ensure they see the benefits of enabling people with Down syndrome to make meaningful contributions, encouraging change to disseminate this message.

In New Zealand, one baby in approximately 1000 is born with Down syndrome, that’s approximately one to two babies born every week. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of the development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

“Dear Health Professionals, we’re here to share a message. We’re all different and unique, we all have value, and everyone has the right to live a happy and healthy life.”

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