by Ging Flores
According Elmer Lapena, president of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. (DSAPI), one person with Down Syndrome is born in the Philippines every four hours.
Ang Down Syndrome ay isang common genetic disorder kung saan pinapanganak ang sanggol na may extra chromosome, na nagreresult sa delays sa kanyang mental at physical development. It affects one in every 800 Filipino children.
Walang gamot para sa disorder na ito but with education and proper care, the quality of life ng mga persons with Down syndrome ay maaaring pabutihin, so they can become less dependent on others and live more functional lives.
In the Philippines, dinaraos ang National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month every February. Dagdag pa ni Lapena, dahil common na genetic disorder ang Down syndrome, lalong mas mahalaga ang inclusion ng mga persons with Down syndrome sa lipunan.
Isa sa mga paraan to raise awareness about this disorder ay ang taunang Happy Walk tuwing February. The yearly event aims to raise awareness tungkol sa mga batang may Down Syndrome, upang lubos silang maunawaan ng lipunan.
Kagaya natin, they also need our love, care, and support. Sa event na ito, ibinida ang mga special qualities and remarkable achievements ng mga Filipino kids with Down Syndrome. Despite their disabilities, may mga accomplishments pa rin sila.
One placard showed Brina Kei Maxino with US President Obama at a White House dinner to celebrate the Special Olympics last year.
Read: How Pinay with Down syndrome got invited to White House
Nagkaroon rin ng program where children with Down Syndrome showcased their talents onstage, kung saan ipinakita ng mga bata ang kanilang mga energetic at sociable na personalities.
According to Winston Maxino, proud parent and ardent supporter of DSAPI, on raising kids with special needs: “I would like to encourage all the parents of special children to keep on believing in their children. They might just surprise you! Please love them and accept them as they are. Let us look at their abilities rather than their disabilities. They are special because they are God’s special gift to us parents, who God knows can hurdle the challenges and are worthy of the joys and jubilation that these special children bring into our lives. But, raising a special child is like raising a whole village. We need as many and as much people to help raise and develop them. These special children need their parents, siblings, families, friends, and neighbors to accept them, respect them and to love them.”
For those who want to contact the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. (DSAPI):
2nd Floor, 6372 Agrifina Building, Camia corner Meleguas Streets, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City
Tel. Nos.: + 63 (2) 895-36-06 or Tel/Fax No.: + 63 (2) 895-96-42
DSAPI – Davao Branch Office:
c/o Trinitas EENT Health Clinic, Cembrano Bldg. 412 Malvar Street, Davao City
Tel/Fax: (82) 305-51-96
DSAPI – Cebu Branch Office:
8th Floor, Cebu Holdings Building
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Tel.: (32) 415-83-30 local 807
Photos: Meric Ingco