Living with Down syndrome

Students at the Labasa Special School with staff and members of the the FNCDP in the North during World Down syndrome day celebrations yesterday. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

Students at the Labasa Special School with staff and members of the the FNCDP in the North during World Down syndrome day celebrations yesterday. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

TEACHERS, parents, families and friends of those living with Down syndrome have been urged to promote and advocate on their strengths, talents and skills.

Officiating at the World Down syndrome Day celebration at Labasa Special School yesterday, disability welfare officer North Niumai Marama said this year’s theme “What I bring to the workplace” was a call to action for the recognition of rights of those living with Down syndrome.

Ms Marama said with regards to employment, it needed to be recognised that all person with the syndrome had the same basic right as other members of the community.

“Voices of those with DS are often unheard, therefore, with regards to employment, there is a call for advocacy from all persons within every strata of society for our brothers and sisters,” she said.

“We need to advocate for an end to stigma and discrimination of those living with DS including the recognition of their rights to inclusion, education, training and health care.

“Other issues affecting those with DS that need to be advocated include community and Government support for activities and programs for such people and provisions of opportunities for application of the skills, talents and uniqueness of those living with the syndrome.”

Ms Marama said individuals with DS worked successfully with varying degrees of support, therefore recognising, and absorbing them in the workforce built their confidence.

She also hailed Government’s introduction of the Disability Allowance scheme, adding it was available to those living with disabilities regardless of their age, family or background.