Stop the Stigma Now! Speak Out!

04/5/2018 Posted by Ateneo SPEED | Awareness, Highlights, News

Down Syndrome is the most common chromosome disorder in the world.

Many people across the world are diagnosed with Down Syndrome, a disorder in which an extra copy of chromosome 21 exists in a person. Down Syndrome is the most common chromosome disorder in the world, and it has a rapid increase in many countries, the US included (US National Down Syndrome Society, 2018). Down Syndrome is a condition with physical and cognitive impairments/differences, including but not limited to decreased or poor muscle tone, flattened facial profile and nose, small head, ears, and mouth, as well as slow learning, poor judgment, and delay in language and speech development. Additionally, most Down Syndrome children develop necessary communication for skills although development takes longer compared to that in typical children (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, n.d.).

With that, people across the world tend to stigmatize people with Down Syndrome. Instead of looking at the bright side of the latter, the former tends to treat them as an out-group deserving disgrace, view their differences negatively, and use derogatory labels like “retardate” or “mongoloid”. It’s saddening because the society fails to realize that in spite of the disabilities and handicaps that come with Down Syndrome, those persons with Down syndrome are no less than other people who do not have it. People with Down syndrome deserve acceptance and respect for who they are, simply because they are people.

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In order to stop the stigma, Ateneo SPEED is geared towards advocating for inclusivity towards PWSNs has its respective means of promoting a positive attitude towards individuals with Down Syndrome. In celebration of Down Syndrome Consciousness month, the organization held the Speak Out campaign booth last February 14-15 in order to promote the understanding, awareness, and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. The two-day event was held at the Zen Garden. Ateneans pledged and made oaths in order to show the willingness to talk to others about Down Syndrome. They also had an option to donate a minimum of 20 pesos for the organization and they got pins showing advocacy for Down Syndrome as a token of appreciation. Sometimes, SPEED members manning the booths would provide pledgers with videos about Down Syndrome.

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The project has done its part in encouraging the Ateneo community to talk about Down Syndrome in a more understanding, respectful, and compassionate way.

The second Speak Out project of the year is a step towards de-stigmatizing people with Down Syndrome and promoting an inclusive society for them. The project has done its part in encouraging the Ateneo community to talk about Down Syndrome in a more understanding, respectful, and compassionate way. All the members of this project, especially the project head and publicity head of SPEED, Junie Angeles,  were able to fulfill their responsibilities in keeping it aligning the goal of the project towards SPEED’s movement towards inclusivity. Hopefully, advocacy for Down Syndrome and all other types of special needs remains long-term and worldwide. With that said, I’d like to close this article with the hopes that people across the world will further build the inclusive society persons with special needs are looking for.

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Written by Mia Geronimo, 3 AB Interdisciplinary Studies, a girl with a heart of gold.

Sources:

Down Syndrome Facts | National Down Syndrome Society. (2018). Retrieved February 24, 2018, from https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome-facts/

What are common symptoms of Down syndrome? (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/down/conditioninfo/symptoms