Delhi to host first of its kind ‘India International Down syndrome Conference’

The Down Syndrome Federation of India is organizing the event on 9th September to get inclusivity for persons with Down's Syndrome and request the government to bring in laws to protect their interests

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New Delhi: For the first time in India, a dedicated international event is set to be organized for the persons with Down syndrome. In order to create awareness and support for people with the disease, the Down Syndrome Federation of India is organizing the first India International Down Syndrome Conference (IIDSC) at New Delhi on the 9th and 10th of September 2017. Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment is expected to be the Chief Guest at this event.

The aim of the conference is to make society more aware of Down’s Syndrome (DS), get inclusivity for persons with DS and request the Government to bring in laws to protect their interests. India with a history of being pioneers in many fields of medicine can also look at providing new answers to make life easier for people with DS.

National Trust, a statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, set for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities is also supporting the event. The event is being represented by over 350 delegates representing not only India, but also countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc. They will be attending various sessions on scientific developments, research, social inclusion for people with Down syndrome, ways to make them more independent and workshops.

Many international experts in the area of Down syndrome will be sharing their views with us. These experts include Prof Tony Holland (The Health Foundation, Chair In Learning Disabilities, University of Cambridge); Dr Brian Skotko (A Board-certified medical geneticist and Co-Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital); Dr George Capone (Associate professor of paediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine); Dr Bhavani Sriram (Currently serving as a Neonatologist, specialist in Pediatric Medicine, Kinder Clinic Pte Ltd, Singapore, consultant to Down syndrome Association, Singapore); Dr S Suresh(A doctor from Chengalpet Medical college, trained in Ultrasound at Bombay in 1982 by Dr.Hemant L.Shah at Sir H.N.Hospital with special expertise in Down syndrome).

As per the Down Syndrome Federation of India, the event is aimed at sensitizing the world towards these children of a lesser God.

Other than these keynote speakers, there will be over 40 speakers from both India and abroad who will be focusing on the latest developments, training methodologies, Health aspects, social inclusion and other issues that are relevant for a society like ours.

Running in parallel with this program is a program for persons with Down syndrome who will be having a great time with each other sharing their experiences.

A book authored by Dr Surekha Ramachandran, titled DOWN, BUT NOT OUT-BABLI’S STORY will be released during the inauguration and the Chief Guest, the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment would be the first recipient of the book. It is a book that deals with depression in persons with Down syndrome. This book is autobiographical and tells about Babli, Dr. Ramachandran’s daughter, her tryst with depression and how they overcame it as a family. It gives an insight into how persons with Down syndrome also battle depression and how best to overcome it. It is a book that all people with grown up children with Down syndrome would be able to relate to.

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On the 8th of September 2017, the Annual General Meeting of the Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federation (APDSF) of which India is one of the main members is also being organized. Nearly 11 countries from the Asia Pacific region including Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,. Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mongolia, Japan and Singapore will be a part of this event.

These delegates will also be attending the 1st India International Down Syndrome Conference and taking back with them learnings that can be passed on to their associations when they return. It is being felt that IIDSC 2017 is a great opportunity at the right time when India is moving miles ahead in creating awareness, acceptance, education, visibility, and medical facilities for people with intellectual challenges. It will definitely help to raise the profile of people with Down syndrome in India and Asia.

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