Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora released the following statement regarding World Down Syndrome Day:
“The United Nations declared the 21st of March as the ‘World Down Syndrome’ Day to raise cultural awareness about the syndrome which occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. In other words, a person has Down syndrome because of his/her cells having one extra chromosome making a total of 47 instead of 46. Thousands of people from all over the world, wear colored socks and carry out activities to raise awareness about Down syndrome on the 21st of March each year. It is estimated that 6 million people possess this genetic difference worldwide and according to our data, there are 300 individuals diagnosed with Down syndrome in the TRNC.
Although there are exceptions, most children with Down syndrome grow at a slower rate than their peers also falling behind in mental development. Therefore it is important that they follow a systematic and well-disciplined education program, with repetition being an important element. They also require double the attention shown to normal children. It is important to spend quality time, engage in lots of conversation, listen to music and include them in social activities. Early diagnosis and preparation is required when the individual is still in the womb. If the necessary precautions are taken and parents are patient with their children after birth, tracking their development closely and providing them with a good education, the children grow up to be successful, happy, loving, meticulous and well-organized individuals who are loyal to their duties and occupy meaningful places in society.
Social sensitivity and the support of family and friends are needed for individuals with Down syndrome to meet their full potential and live a satisfactory life. We hope to change the perception that they are disabled which will lead to a better understanding and approach to the syndrome.
Although making individuals with Down syndrome part of society may seem like a grueling task, we are constantly reminded by certain cases that ignoring their abilities is certainly the wrong approach. I hope that a better environment will be created for those with Down syndrome and the first step towards this materializing is increased awareness. Let us not forget that Down syndrome isn’t a disease that needs to be cured but a genetic difference. Children with Down syndrome do not require medicine. They require love and special education support!”