The Child Development Centre at the Rumailah Hospital, a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), is holding a series of events to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day for children and their families living with the condition.
Held for the seventh consecutive year, the theme of this year’s celebration is ‘My Voice… My Community’. Highlights for this year include awareness activities aimed to ensure that rights of individuals with Down syndrome are protected, and that patients are well-integrated into the community. Educational and awareness leaflets, posters, and roll-ups about Down syndrome will be on display in the lobbies of HMC hospitals for information of hospital visitors.
A number of organisations specialising in the care of children with special needs also took part in HMC’s World Down Syndrome Day events, including the Special Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Thomas Centre at the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs, Best Buddies Qatar, Qatar Voluntary Centre, Shafallah Centre for Children with Special Needs and Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing.
Assistant Director of Paediatric Rehabilitation Fatima Mustafa said that the event provided the families an opportunity to interact and share their experiences. Mustafa explained that HMC provides children with Down syndrome a variety of programmes and services, which include an early intervention programme at the Child Development Centre.
The Centre now caters to around 70 children patients with Down syndrome. Children undergoing rehabilitation and development programmes are under supervision of highly qualified multi-disciplinary teams of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, special education experts and mental health services specialists.
She said that children with Down syndrome are normally referred to the Centre from the Women’s Hospital after their delivery, adding that the Centre also accepts referrals from Primary Health Care centres.
Dr. Azhar Khattab, Consultant in Pediatric Rehabilitation explained that Down syndrome is a group of physical and mental characteristics resulting from an abnormal cell division involving the chromosomes.
He said children with Down syndrome are also characterized by special features of the face.
They are susceptible to congenital heart disease or body disorders such as respiratory system disorders. They may also suffer developmental delays and negative effects on their mobility and language capabilities. However, children with Down syndrome may lead a normal life if they are granted appropriate opportunities, necessary support, and healthcare.’
In addition to the rehabilitation services that the Child Development Centre provides children, the Centre is staffed by a group of specialised physicians who also perform regular heart, vision, hearing, and thyroid gland screening. The Centre also works with parents to develop children’s talents and integrate them into the community.
For more information on Down Syndrome and the services provided by the Child Development Centre, visit cdcenterqatar.com.