The “Down Syndrome Awareness Symposium” organized by the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ministry of Health and the Famagusta Special Education Center took place at Bedesten in Nicosia. The symposium was sponsored by Kyrenia Inner Wheel. The opening speech of the symposium was delivered by EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora who highlighted the importance of increasing Down syndrome awareness.
The symposium commenced after the opening speech. Presentations were delivered by EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora, Obstetrician and Gynecologist Dr. Ali Yalçın, Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital Developmental Pediatrics Expert Dr. Doğa Ceren Tekgüç, EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine academic staff member and psychologist Naife Sevdalı Zaim and EMU Faculty of Education academic staff members Assoc. Prof. Dr. Selma Akalın and Asst. Prof. Dr. Hatice Bayraklı.
“Children with Down syndrome don’t need medicine they need attention, love and special education support”
In her speech Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Dr. Nahide Gökçora stated that Down syndrome isn’t a disease it is a genetic difference. Prof. Dr. Gökçora continued by emphasizing that children with Down syndrome don’t need medicine but that they need attention, love and special education support. Prof. Dr. Gökçora concluded by stating: “We need to change the perception that individuals with Down syndrome are disabled. We hope that a better understanding of Down syndrome which will lead to a correct approach is developed.”
“Developmental Pediatrics Polyclinic Established”
Speaking at the event, Department of Basic Health Services, Preventative Health Services Unit Supervisor Dr. Sevgül Maydanozcu Kara indicated that the “Developmental Pediatrics Polyclinic” has started to provide service at the Nicosia Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital. Indicating that she has started to work with Dr. Doğa Ceren Tekgüç at the Developmental Pediatrics Polyclinic which is operating under the Pediatrics Unit Kara stated “We are identifying individuals in need and working to see what contributions we can make. We would like to thank Minister of Health Dr. Filiz Besim for her sensitivity in addition to everyone who contributed to this event.”
“Having a Child with Down Syndrome”
EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine academic staff member and psychologist Naife Sevdalı Zaim touched upon the psychological conditions that parents who have a child with Down syndrome experience providing information about how they can be managed. Zaim also emphasized the economical, psychological and educational problems often faced by families comprising of a child with Down syndrome.
“Early interventions are aimed to increase the psychological, physical and mental capacity of individuals”
EMU Faculty of Education academic staff member Assoc. Prof. Dr. Selma Akalın stated that Down syndrome is a life -long process for which early interventions can be made to increase the psychological, physical and mental capacityof individuals. Providing a reminder that family participation is important in the education of individuals with Down syndrome, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Akalın stated that education in schools must be provided by experts who incorporate and increase the amount of inclusive activities they participate in.