McMillan Supports Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week

Stuart McMillan MSP SNP has added his support to Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (16th-22nd March 2015) and the United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (Saturday 21st March 2015).

Down’s Syndrome Scotland, which supports people with Down’s syndrome, their families and professionals, organised an exhibition for MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. The event gave MSPs a chance to obtain information on the condition and the importance of communication skills for people with Down’s Syndrome in Scotland.

Speaking afterwards Mr McMillan said:Stuart McMillan MSP

“Children with Ds and their parents need continuous support with speech and language therapy. Better communication not only helps children and parents to bond but it also helps children and teenagers with Ds to perform better at school and develop friendships.

“Being able to communicate also improves the chances of all adults with Ds to maintain a good quality of life and maintain wellbeing. We know that by age 40, people with Ds have an increased risk of developing dementia. Communications skills should therefore be at the core of delivering person-centered care.

“Communication is key to inclusion. By supporting people with Ds to develop and maintain their communication skills we ensure that their voices can be heard in decisions affecting their lives and that their rights are upheld and respected by all.”

Pandora Summerfield, Chief Executive of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, said:

“Through our work we have gathered evidence on the benefits of running communication groups for children with Down’s syndrome and their parents. To get it right for every child with Ds, greater recognition and resources should be given to improving communication skills across the country.

“To gain employment, maintain relationships and take part in local activities, individuals need to communicate with each other. Some of them may also be affected by early onset dementia and it is crucial to make sure that they can continue to communicate with their carers.”

1. Down’s Syndrome Scotland is the only Scottish charity focused solely on the needs of people with Down’s syndrome and their family carers. It provides information, support and services for people with Down’s syndrome, their families, carers and those with a professional interest. It also seeks to improve knowledge and understanding and champion the rights of people with Down’s syndrome.

2. Down’s syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 inside some or all of the body’s cells. Approximately 1 in 1,000 babies are born with Down’s syndrome in the UK. It is one of the most common congenital conditions, which occurs in all ethnic groups. It is the most prevalent chromosomal disorder and also the most frequently recognised cause of intellectual disability.

3. For more details on Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (16th-22nd March 2015), United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (21st March 2015) and how to get involved, visit www.dsscotland.org.uk/awareness.

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