DSAWC holds meeting

2017-03-09 06:01
Members of the Down Syndrome Association of Western Cape (DSAWC) held a campaign to raise awareness at the Khayelitsha Special School on Thursday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

Members of the Down Syndrome Association of Western Cape (DSAWC) held a campaign to raise awareness at the Khayelitsha Special School on Thursday.PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

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The Downs Syndrome Association of the Western Cape, which focuses on a condition that causes delayed intellectual and physical development of a child, held an awareness campaign to sensitise residents about the disease on Thursday.

The Down Syndrome Association of Western Cape (DSAWC) held the awareness campaign at the Khayelitsha Special School.

Lungiswa Mhlayimpi, a social worker from DSAWC, said there was a need to educate residents about the condition as most children who live with it get discriminated against in various ways.

“Children who live with the condition are labelled as mentally ill in communities. Most people do not have information about Down’s Syndrome. Those children do not develop fast mentally, but they lead a normal life like anyone else. They need supervision most of the time. Their life span is the same as anyone else and they can also have children when they are old like anyone else. Some parents keep their children at home and they do not attend school, which is wrong,” Mhlayimpi said.

Mhlayimpi said there were over 360 families who have children with Down Syndrome in the province alone.

She also said the condition can be detected from when the child is still in the womb.

“Parents are given the option to keep the baby or terminate the pregnancy once they become aware.

Vuyelwa Nombola, a parent, said she did not expect to give birth to a child with the condition.

“I was shocked when I was told about the condition in hospital. I did not know about it, but they the informed me about it. My family supported me from day one. It was not easy for me, but now I have accepted. I started attending support group three years ago which is helping me a lot. I treat him like any other children. Children with the condition love attention, being shown that they are loved and hugs,” Nombola said.

Her child is now 12-years-old.

Nombola said the prevailing myth was that the older you are, the more chances you are going to give birth to a child with the condition.

“That it is not true.” She was only 26-years-old when she gave birth to her child.

She said the child’s father abandoned her at birth.

Downs Syndrome is regarded as the most frequent of all chromosomal abnormalities.

It is not a disease, but purely a random occurrence with happens at conception and takes place in 1 in 800 births in developing countries and 1 in 1000 births in developed countries.

It occurs in all nationalities and culture groups. Downs Syndrome causes delayed intellectual and physical development.

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