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1st International Synod of People with Down Syndrome

Posted in Ability, Events by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on August 27, 2008

I just saw that the 10th World Down Syndrome Congress will be in Ireland next year and will bring people with Down’s syndrome, their families, carers, researchers and medical experts together to discuss issues related to DS.

It sounds like an interesting event and the list of themes addresses many of the issues that concern me ahead of our baby being born:

• Life Possibilities with Down syndrome
• Family perspectives – Parents, siblings & extended family
• Health Care Management
• Maximising individual potential with early intervention
• Education & Inclusion ~ Who, What, Where and How?
• Hearing, Speech & Vision
• Psychosocial development – Pleasure of Play, Drama & Friendship
• Independent living & employment
• Mental wellness throughout life

The thing that really caught my eye though was the mention of the 1st International Synod of People with Down Syndrome. According to the blurb:

“The inaugural International Synod of people with Down syndrome will take place on Wednesday 19th August the day before the main Congress begins. This prestigious and high profile event will give adults and young people with Down syndrome an opportunity to meet their peers from across the globe and to discuss issues that affect their daily lives including employment and living in the community. The format will be in a parliamentary style and the Synod will be afforded appropriate recognition by political representatives in Ireland.”

Without wishing to sound patronising this sounds to me like a great idea and I am really encouraged that events like this are being organised.

When my wife and I first found out that our baby had Down’s syndrome I think we were both reticent about getting involved in Down’s-related groups or organisations. I think part of the issue was not wanting to define the baby by the syndrome.

As we get closer to the baby’s arrival I am more and more inclined to not just use these groups for educational purposes but to also participate, where appropriate. I have also begun to see how organisations such as this do not define a person but can enable them to flourish.


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