This year, in October 2019, I had an opportunity to attend the 3rd International Down Syndrome Conference 2019 at The Lalit, Chandigarh. This conference is organized by Down Syndrome Federation of India. The conference covered a wide range of topics from Therapies, Medical, Social and Legal. This year the conference covered financial too which I had presented.
With my first experience, I can say now that this yearly conference is a wonderful learning event for families with Down Syndrome Children.
Before I speak on the conference speakers what amazed me was the energy and enthusiasm of the families. Since the conference was in Chandigarh you cannot miss the taste of Punjab. Be it welcoming the Chief Guest or the end of the conference, performance by the down syndrome children was enough to touch your heart!
Just check below and you will not be able to move your eyes –
The conference had numerous speakers from the field of medicine. There were speakers from India and other countries who spoke on different aspects for Children with Down Syndrome care. The list can go long and it is heartening to see how communities are gaining importance in making parents more aware of special needs childcare.
My stay was arranged in The Lalit as twin sharing. I shared the space with Dr. Milind Sonawane who is a Sr. Speech & Language Therapist, in Ireland & Consultant SLT Asia Pacific. A wonderful personality Dr. Milind is filled with rich experience and knowledge. We had numerous interactions and I happen to listen to one of his talk which was mesmerizing.
The other interaction I had was with Mr. Rajesh Hosali who is a Down Syndrome Child parent in Switzerland. His talk was on the platform under DS21.org which he has launched in Switzerland. Through this platform, he aims to bring families with Down syndrome children and experts together. The uniqueness of this platform is that it will bring experts from different countries and families from different languages can seek answers to their queries. What an initiative!!
One other important person I can’t miss mentioning is Prachi Deo. She is the founder of Nayi-Disha an online resource for parents with special needs dependent. She has been an inspiration for families and a wonderful human being . We have been associated and conducted many events for the common cause of helping families with special needs children.
My Presentation At Down Syndrome Conference
I got an opportunity to present on different aspects of special needs planning. Though there was less time to speak on all the aspects I covered major aspects which families should start thinking. The session was well-received by the parents and post the session I had discussion with many families.
My Conversation with Families at The Conference
During the conference, I had conversation with numerous families. Some with Down Syndrome children as young as one year old, while some had a child who is about to become an adult. The profile may look different but the concerns were similar- What After Us? The interaction revealed that some of the families have already taken a financial planning approach but planning for special needs child is still unplanned. Contrary to this some parents did not have a clue how to begin and there were too many aspects to be aware of. Nevertheless, the objective of this interaction was to gain confidence among families and help them begin planning for their special needs child.
This was the first conference I have attended for families with Down Syndrome dependent and I can just say that it was awesome!! The energy, the enthusiasm and the learning I saw here was memorable. I am grateful to Dr. Rekha Ramchandran from Down Syndrome Federation who invited me to be a part of this esteemed conference held annually. The conference provided me an opportunity to interact with parents and make them aware of PSN identity. I am hopeful that with some parents we will soon begin the journey of our engagement.