As organizations worldwide recently marked World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran partnered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Ben-Gurion University to support a special symposium for professionals and parents of children with Down Syndrome.
WDSD has been commemorated on March 21st since 2006, on a date chosen to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome. The theme chosen for this year was “Aim High Enough”, to continue creating awareness about Down syndrome and promote acceptance of diversity.
Accordingly, ALEH Negev and its partner organizations held a conference on March 24, at the Ben-Gurion University’s Joyce Goldman Auditorium, the Faculty of Health Sciences. The day-long symposium included a diversity of speakers with experience and practice in dealing with various aspects of Down Syndrome. Individual sessions included discussions on the many inherent complications of Downs Syndrome, including aging; epilepsy; family coping; and physiological and sensory difficulties.
In between sessions, participants agreed that conferences of this sort were extremely informative and helpful for all involved, and they resolved to continue to share knowledge and experiences on an ongoing basis. But the symposium did more than simply disseminate information and encourage professional discussions. It served as a forum for support, where parents could share their concerns and their struggles.
At the same time, many were able to acknowledge the up-side of Down Syndrome: that their very special children can be a source of tremendous joy and a catalyst for love and caring.
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