Friday was a day of fun and frolic for nearly 100 children from seven special schools of the city. Participating in a programme, organised to mark World Down's Syndrome Day, these children were at their best presenting cultural programmes and dance performances.

Divya and Irene, students of Divya Down's Development Trust, danced to the tunes of Hindi and Tamil songs and stole the show. The programme was organised by the trust at the Infant Jesus Church at Viveknagar.

Although the day falls on March 21, the trust observed it on Friday to encourage more participation. According to Esther Thomas of the trust, the syndrome is a form of mental retardation caused because of chromosomal abnormity. On an average one in every 1,000 births is affected with the syndrome. “Children with this disorder have an extra chromosome in every cell causing physical and mild mental retardation. Although the functioning level of these children is less compared to normal children, early intervention can help in integrating them with the mainstream,” Ms Thomas, whose 19-year-old daughter Divya is suffering from the disorder, told The Hindu.

The trust, which runs in coordination with Hosmat Physiotherapy College and Institute of Speech and Hearing, offers early intervention programme for new-borns, speech therapy, physiotherapy, special education, vocational social and personal care skills to the children.

“We are an association of parents, teachers, professionals and therapists whose aim is to improve the lives of affected children and give them an opportunity to enjoy life,” she said.

Children from Association of Mentally Challenged (AMC), Asha Niketan School, Kormangala; ASHA Centre for Development and Disabilities, Seva-In-Action, Association of People with Disability (APD), GERIZIM and Nireekshana participated in the celebrations.

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