alexa New Zealand Down Syndrome Association

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New Zealand Down Syndrome Association

Down syndrome is a life-long disorder that causes delays in learning and development. It cannot be cured but problems can be reduced if people with Down syndrome have the correct help and if other people have a positive accepting approach. It occurs because cells comprise an extra chromosome number 21. In New Zealand one baby in about 1000 is born with Down syndrome i.e., one or more babies with Down syndrome born every week. Down syndrome was first described by an English doctor, John Langdon Down, in 1866. It is an inborn condition which randomly affects about 1 in 1000 babies born throughout the world, male and female alike. People with Down syndrome do have features in common, but they also closely look like their parents and family. Many features are attributed to Down syndrome but any one person will only have some of them - each person is an different, with a unique appearance, personality and set of abilities. The extent to which a child shows the physical appearances of the syndrome is no indication of his or her intellectual capacity. The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) was established 30 years ago with the mission ‘To promote the participation of people with Down syndrome in their community’. This Association is a united society managed by a National Committee consisting of seven legislatures. A National Co-ordinator is employed by committee. The NZDSA is funded by donations, fund-raising, charity grants and with a very small percentage coming from membership fees. NZDSA aims are to support and inform families of people with Down syndrome, to promote for positive attitudes, to promote the rights of people with Down syndrome. NZDSA offers national coordinator, new parent support through skilled support parents, regional groups with activities all over thirteen centres in New Zealand including coffee mornings, guest speakers, family events and individual support and advocacy, information packs for professionals, schools, friends and family. The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association in co-operation with Geraldine Whatnell, has established a resource that will empower persons with Down syndrome, their families and healthcare professionals to generate positive hospital experiences. This resource is fit for people with Down syndrome, persons who have intellectual disability, educators, professionals and young children.

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