This project has two parts: firstly a campaign to raise awareness and understanding of Down syndrome for new parents of babies with Down syndrome; and secondly intensive training workshops with parents of young children with Down syndrome to provide them with key skills to support their children in their early development. The project will be targeted at parents living in remote areas of Nepal, where information, support and expertise are not available.
In Nepal parents of children with Down syndrome often lack basic information about what Down syndrome is. For parents of new babies with Down syndrome this can leave them confused and worried during a difficult emotional period. As their baby grows into a child, many do not have information about medical conditions that may affect their child or the skills to support their child's early development. This crucial information is least accessible in remote areas of Nepal where it is most needed.
The awareness campaign will reach new parents in remote areas of Nepal. It will provide them with an understanding of Down syndrome, myths and facts, development and medical issues and what life is like for people with Down syndrome. The training sessions will provide parents with skills for the day-to-day care of and interaction with their child, including effective communication, basic physiotherapy and speech and language therapy techniques to use to support their child's development.
The impact of this project on the children of the parents who take part will be sustained throughout their lives. The first few years are crucial, to manage medical issues, encourage physical and cognitive development and create a positive, enabling social environment for children with Down syndrome. The right support, from skilled, knowledgeable parents at this stage, will give children the start they need. In turn, this project will develop a network of parent peers who can support others.