CHENNAI: Sunday morning at Elliots Beach was loaded with surprises, hope and love for over 100 families who have children with Down Syndrome (DS). Thanks to the efforts of the Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI), the World Down Syndrome Day celebrations were held keeping in mind the beliefs of the organisation — ‘#InclusionIsCool’.
For Dr Rekha Ramachandran, it all started with the birth of her daughter, Babloo, three decades back. She co-founded the DSFI to help children like Babloo.
“Usually, I am very busy shuttling from dance sessions to art classes. Right from washing dishes, I help my mother do everyday chores. I start my day listening to Vishnu Sahasranamam on YouTube,” explains S Janani, a person with DS, adding that she hopes to perform Sivathandavam in Bengaluru.
Chennai is a pioneer in helping the DS community lead a better life, says professor Mohan Kameshwaran, director of Madras ENT Research Foundation. Two major issues that 80 per cent of those with DS face are ear and sleep apnea. Bionic devices are a boon for those with hearing loss. Most medical procedures are made available for free of cost by the foundation, he says.
Explaining how technology has been aiding in early detection and intervention, Dr S Suresh, director of Medi Scan and trustee of Fetal Care Research Foundation, says one in 700-800 pregnant mothers are diagnosed with DS kids. Getting Non Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) done is uncommon in India as it is expensive. However, with technological advancements, the testing is now available for `20,000.
Actor Sai Pallavi, a doctor herself, also extended support for the cause and requested over 500 people gathered to build a DS-friendly environment in the city.