It’s World Down Syndrome Day today and the Ministry of Health is encouraging residents to find and wear fabulously mismatched socks this morning,
Odds socks or mismatched socks were chosen as a symbol for Word Syndrome Day because chromosomes are shaped like socks, and those with Down Syndrome have an extra one.
So, as you dress this morning, maybe grab an orange and grab a purple or don’t be afraid to go as loud as you wish and ROCK THOSE SOCKS for the rest of the day.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Pediatric Department at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis has used today’s observance to echo the need for more special education facilities for children living with Down Syndrome.
“We have three facilities that are at their capacity, now what happens next? Where do other students, other children who need to be enrolled in these institutions, go if our sole facility is occupied?” Belle-Jarvis asked.
16 children with Down Syndrome are currently enrolled in either public or private schools in Antigua and Barbuda.
Dr. Belle-Jarvis also raised concerns about the difficulties in diagnosing and treating Down Syndrome.
“We recognize that the cost for formally diagnosing can be very cost prohibitive and the most vulnerable may not be able to afford it. We are talking about a test during pregnancy that can cost US $900 just to see if your baby is at an increased risk of having Down Syndrome”
“Translating this thereafter to the cost of testing the baby after birth, we are looking at EC $1,800 for this test so most times, it is a presumed diagnosis,” she said
World Down Syndrome Day has been observed each year on March 21, since 2006.