In Oman, there are around 2,000 registered people with Down Syndrome. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Down Syndrome also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability, and characteristic facial features.
Dr Lamya Harub, an active volunteer in Oman Down Syndrome Association (ODSA), explained the significance of March 21 saying that the day is vital in reducing the societal stigma around the condition.
“Today we are marking World Down Syndrome Day in order to recognise the contributions that people with Down Syndrome have made to the world and how much more they are capable of achieving. This is a vital part of reducing the stigma surrounding the most loving group of people in the world,” Dr Lamya told Muscat Daily.
According to WHO, 60-80 per cent of children with Down Syndrome have hearing impairment and 40-45 per cent have congenital heart diseases. Intestinal abnormalities also occur at a higher frequency in these children. They often have more eye problems than others. Another concern relates to nutritional aspects. Some children with Down Syndrome, in particular those with severe heart disease often fail to thrive in infancy. On the other hand, obesity is often noted during adolescence and early adulthood. These conditions can be prevented through nutritional counselling.
As part of the day, different activities will be organised for children with Down Syndrome at Oasis Mall on Thursday from 10am to 2pm. To mark World Down Syndrome Day, Al Jisr Foundation has donated a spider cage to ODSA.
The spider cage is considered one of the most effective physiotherapy equipment for motor training. The equipment consists of elastic cords to stimulate movement, strengthen muscles by controlling and balancing practices, and enable children to perform essential skills like standing and moving independently.
Nasser al Amri, managing director at ODSA, said that one of the primary difficulties that children face is low muscle tones and loose joints. “The spider cage would improve their motor abilities. We thank Al Jisr Foundation for providing such a valuable device, as it will benefit around 50 children.”