The Child Development Center at Rumailah Hospital, a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is holding a series of events to observe World Down Syndrome Day, focusing on children living with the condition and their families.
Being held for the seventh consecutive year, the theme of the event is "My Voice…My Community.” Highlights will include awareness raising activities for ensuring the rights of individuals with Down syndrome are protected and they are integrated into the community. Educational and awareness leaflets, posters, and roll-ups about Down syndrome will be on display in the lobbies of HMC hospitals to raise awareness of the condition among hospital visitors.
Fatima Mustafa, assistant director, Paediatric Rehabilitation, said around 300 healthcare professionals and members of the public, including individuals with Down Syndrome from various local schools, are expected to attend an educational and awareness event held at Hajar Auditorium as part of activities marking the day.
“The event will provide an opportunity for families of people with Down Syndrome to interact and share their experiences,” she said.
A number of organisations specialising in the care of children with special needs will take part in HMC’s World Down Syndrome Day events, including the Special Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Thomas Centre at the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, Best Buddies Qatar, Qatar Voluntary Centre, Shafallah Centre for Children with Special Needs and Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing.
Mustafa explained that HMC provides children with Down Syndrome with a variety of programmes and services, including an early intervention programme at the Child Development Center.
According to her, the Center caters to around 70 children with Down Syndrome who are undergoing rehabilitation and development programmes conducted by highly qualified multi-disciplinary teams of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, special education experts and mental health services specialists.
Dr Azhar Khattab, consultant in paediatric rehabilitation explained that Down Syndrome is a group of physical and mental characteristics resulting from an abnormal cell division involving the chromosomes.
"Children with Down syndrome are susceptible to congenital heart disease or body disorders such as respiratory system disorders. They may also suffer developmental delays and negative effects on their mobility and language capabilities,” he added.
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