More than 80 children and families have attended the third annual World Down Syndrome Day event held recently at Rumailah Hospital’s Child Development Centre (CDC).
World Down Syndrome Day seeks to raise awareness of Down Syndrome with the CDC event promoting interaction between children, families and healthcare providers in an informal setting through the combined efforts of the Occupational Therapy Department, Early Intervention Section, Special Education Section, Patient & Visitor Service Centre and the Dental Department at Rumailah Hospital.
Children Rehabilitation and Development Section head Dr Haitham El Bashir said, “Like most of our programmes, this event was built around the idea of family-centred care, which not only includes offering medical services, but also incorporates the social and recreational aspect.”
Held under the motto “The Child with Special Talents”, the event saw a variety of activities designed to attract various age groups with different abilities at a number of stations. These included Hands in Action - where children utilised fine motor skills such as playing with play dough, making shapes and colouring; Food as Fun - where kids prepared their snacks themselves; Sensory Corner – which offered visual and auditory stimulation to children in the form of music and dance; Assistive Technology - which showed parents the latest devices that could help enhance their child’s learning; and Home-made Toys - where parents learned new ideas on how to produce toys with the aid of raw materials easily found at home.
Intended to boost the relationship between staff and parents of children with Down Syndrome, the event also included a light-hearted skit that depicted a funny scenario at the hospital, performed by the Early Intervention team.
Rumailah Hospital’s Paediatric Rehabilitation assistant director Fatima Mustafa said, “Parents often look at the healthcare professionals through a restricted lens. They are often not very comfortable expressing their ideas, sharing their worries and troubles, but this particular celebration has allowed us to break those barriers. Through such a celebration, parents are more willing to communicate with us, so that we can in turn learn more about their child and together support his or her normal development.”
According to Dr El Bashir, children with Down Syndrome may have a number of other health problems, including congenital heart disease or abnormalities within their body organs and system. Many also have developmental delay reflected in their motor, language or cognitive development. “It is vital that as soon as the diagnosis is made for such children, they are referred for rehabilitation to avoid any delay in their development,” he suggested.