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Hope rising for those living with down syndrome condition

Wikipedia defines Down syndrome (DS) or Down’s Syndrome, (trisomy 21), as a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability. The average IQ of a young adult with Down Syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8- or 9-year-old child, but this varies widely.
Put differently, it’s a chromosomal abnormality condition associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and poor muscle tone (hypotonia) in infancy.
In the past, majority of the children born with this condition never survived it. In fact, their parents would keep them locked indoors, far removed from the public. They also never had access to medical care or other support programmes that would make them develop relatively well enough to live almost a normal life.
Perhaps, this occurred because there was little or no information and support programme available for those with Down Syndrome condition. Even where they exist, it was too expensive for the average family to access.
But in recent times, these children with special needs are increasingly being given the opportunity to live a normal life by concerned Nigerians, NGOs and corporate institutions. Increasingly, corporate bodies are devoting some funds of their CSR budget to the Down Syndrome.
The Down Syndrome Foundation (DSF), a non for profit organization, for over a decade, has done extensive work on helping kids with the condition grow to become adults and be useful to themselves and the society.
The foundation was established in 2001 to champion the cause of people living with Down Syndrome but has not been able to effectively tackle the misconceptions associated with the disorder and the fables associated with persons living with Down Syndrome due to the little knowledge the public has about the disorder.
Corporate organizations are now keying and collaborating with the DSF NGO, to provide support to kids living with the condition. One of those corporate organization, which recently partnered the Foundation to spread awareness on the condition is First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Limited.
One of the ways FBN is supporting capacity for Down Syndrome awareness in partnership with the DSF is through a radio drama series – Hope Rising – which aired on Rhythm 93.7 Lagos between September-December, 2014.
The series which focuses on Down Syndrome began on September 2nd, 2014 and ran for 13 episodes in 13 weeks.
The various episodes highlighted the challenges of Down Syndrome and explore efforts at combating the disorder whilst providing a platform for advocacy and enlightening the public.
The Down Syndrome disorder was selected based on the bank’s enduring partnership with the Down Syndrome Foundation which began in 2009.
The objectives of the show includes engaging stakeholders including government in promoting awareness, advocacy and education regarding the down syndrome disorder as well as developing and nurturing a culture that promotes the employment of preventive measures, as well as the importance of treatment of down syndrome.

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