When a new baby is born, parents who learn that their child has Down syndrome may feel anger, fear, sadness and many other emotions and this can be overwhelming. Early access to accurate, balanced information and support from other parents who have experienced this is essential to overcome these emotions and will provide the best possible start for parents and their new baby. This programme in Peru can achieve this in a simple, effective way at low cost and will make a huge positive difference.
When a new baby is born, parents who learn that their child has Down syndrome may feel anger, fear, sadness and many other emotions and this can be overwhelming. The first thing any new baby needs is to be accepted by its parents and provided with a loving, secure environment. Parents of a baby with Down syndrome will need some time to adjust, but very soon they may also need to consider early development or health issues. Access to early peer support and basic information is therefore critical.
Our programme, run with Sociedad Peruana de Sindrome Down (SPSD), will reach new families via communication channels and relationships with major hospitals and diagnosis centres in Lima, Peru. The programme will provide basic information kits for new parents; run informal meetings for new parents to meet others, talk about their experiences and learn more; provide basic training for key health professionals and build the capacity of SPSD to sustain this and other initiatives going forward.
An informed family will accept and value their child. This will provide an excellent developmental environment for the child to thrive and stay healthy. Informed families will be willing and able to help other families and advocate for people with Down syndrome to be fully included in Peru's society. This programme will help 150 families, but the knock on benefits will be much greater. DSi will work with SPSD to increase their capacity to sustain themselves and do more crucial work like this.