Handbook on Down Syndrome to help families

National 2 minutes, 33 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Ministry of Health's Community Paediatric Unit has registered about 200 individuals with Down Syndrome over the past 20 years.

Families are the "first line of care and support" for individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome, said the Health Minister, who yesterday launched a new handbook on the genetic condition and urged all levels of the community to play their part.

"As with other children, children with Down syndrome also need love, attention, care and support from their relatives and the surrounding community so that they will feel loved and not sidelined from daily life, until they reach adulthood," said Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof.

At the launch of Brunei's World Down Syndrome Day event at the Child Development Centre (CDC) in Kiarong, parents of children with Down Syndrome were also advised to work closely with school authorities so that their children can best benefit from the services and teaching facilities offered by the school.

It was hoped that parents and other "stakeholders" would also work together in monitoring the development of children with Down Syndrome, identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

Pehin Dato Hj Adanan said that skills such as communication and the ability to become independent needed to be developed and encouraged from early on so that individuals with Down Syndrome would be self-confident and their talents nurtured based on their abilities in the future.

"With this approach, it will not only be beneficial to the individual and his/her family but they will also have the opportunity to contribute their services and dedication to the community and the country in their (respective) capabilities," he said.

Ten exceptional individuals with Down Syndrome were also awarded with certificates and prizes yesterday for their accomplishments in categories such as "Most Enterprising Youth", "Successful Integration Into Mainstream", "Gold Medallist in Boccee" and "Best Smile".

"Their achievements are something to be very proud of as some of them have contributed to glorifying the country's name internationally."

The minister also presented parents of children with Down Syndrome the Down Syndrome Handbook, which was published to "help parents and family members increase their knowledge and understanding about Down Syndrome", a press release said.

The handbook was also modified to fit the needs of Brunei's situation, with regards to Down Syndrome, the co-chairperson of the national World Down Syndrome Day celebrations, Dr Hjh Mawarni Hj Abd Hamid said.

The minister recognised that caring and teaching a child with Down Syndrome was "not something easy".

"It requires patience, determination, sacrifice, encouragement, commitment and cooperation from the relevant parties, particularly among the parents or guardians, (other) relatives, government agencies, private sector, non-government organisations and all levels of the community... to ensure that every individual with down syndrome can achieve a happy, meaningful and productive life and thus, have a sense of belonging in the community."

The Brunei Times