Chennai 13th August, 2015: Down Syndrome International (DSI) and Down Syndrome Association of
Tamilnadu (DSAT), is proud to announce that the 12th World Down Syndrome Congress, based on the
theme “THE PANCH TATVAS” will be held in Chennai from 18th to 21st August, 2015 at ITC Grand Chola.
The World Down Syndrome Congress is organized to create worldwide awareness and support for persons
with this genetic condition. The congress aims to provide accurate and up to date information on best
practices in the field of Down syndrome to parents, self-advocates, educators, medical professionals, and
direct service professionals across the world.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder in which a person possesses three copies of chromosome 21 instead
of two, resulting in certain physical, psychological and medical issues. One out of every 850 births is a
person with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, an English doctor who
identified the features of people with this genetic condition.
The 12th edition of the World Down Syndrome Congress expects more than 500 delegates in the area of
Down syndrome which includes almost 100 persons with Down syndrome from all over the world to attend
the 4 day conference. It will be the first time that the congress is held in India. Representatives from 38
countries including Australia, USA, Germany, France, South Africa, Japan, Honkong, UK, UAE, Russian
Federation, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland etc, will be a part of the
Speakers representing the medical fraternity, government, as well as academic scholars and researchers
from the Down syndrome arena will present and discuss advancement and challenges being faced by
persons with Down syndrome. The congress has received around 116 study papers on Down syndrome
out of which selective papers would be presented at the congress.
The theme PANCH TATVAS or the 5 truths or beliefs – Social Awareness & Self Determination, Health,
Education & Employment, Support System, Rights & the Law. The scientific programme will feature
keynote lectures, state of the art sessions and workshops by international experts who will be addressing
topics such as social inclusion, rights, education, health and employment. Running in parallel with this
program, persons with Down syndrome and their family members will share their knowledge and
experiences in concurrent sessions.
The Congress also holds an interactive workshop for adults with Down syndrome called PANCHAYAT.
This pre-congress open forum has been developed especially for adults with Down syndrome. It provides a
platform for voicing wishes and desires, exchanging ideas and forming friendships.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Surekha Ramachandran, founder of DSFI and DSAT, said that “Persons
with Down syndrome face many challenges as children and adults, which may prevent them enjoying their
basic rights in the society. Many people fail to understand that persons with Down syndrome are normal
people with abilities, however may require additional support, but should be recognized by society on an
equal basis with others, without discrimination on the basis of disability”.
She also added, “Families should normally have the strongest personal interest in the wellbeing of persons
with Down syndrome. WDSC aims at empowering families to recognize their equal status in society so that
they can provide support, advocate for them to be given opportunities and choices and empower them to
express their own views, make their own decisions and advocate for themselves.”
WDSC 2015 will put forth three main recommendations to the Government of India and to the international
Better Healthcare: Persons with Down’s syndrome are predisposed to certain medical conditions,
including cardiac diseases, thyroid disorders, hearing impairments, visual problems, coeliac
disease and Alzheimer’s disease, most of which are treatable. If left untreated, these conditions
can cause secondary complications and seriously affect the overall well-being of the individual, as
well as resulting in unnecessary costs, which may be avoided.
Importance of Health Insurance for Down syndrome: Health conditions related to genetic
disorders are not covered in most of the insurance policies.
The Medical Passport – The congress will also recommend the introduction of “The Medical
Passport” for children and adults with Down Syndrome, the passport is a handbook with will have
details about the individual’s milestone stages of developments and improvements.
This international gathering will be graced by the eminent dignitaries on all 4 days including:
Shri.Thaawar Chand Gehlot,Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
Mr. Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner
Mr. Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Mr. S. Gurumurthy, Chartered Accountant and Member of the Advisory board of
Vivekananda International Foundation
Mr. Md. Nasimuddin – Principal Secretary to Government of Tamilnadu– Welfare of
Differently Abled Persons
Mr. A.K. Awasthi Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Persons with Down syndrome have physical and intellectual delays from birth but there is a wide variety of
abilities within the population that are impossible to predict ahead of time.
WDSC 2015 is pleased to have partnered with MCI – group, one of the internationally acclaimed
Professional Congress Organizers and Event Art cultural program organizers who provide end to end
solutions for events.
The next WDSC will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in 2018.
About Down Syndrome International (DSi)
Down Syndrome International (DSi) is a UK based international charity, comprising a membership of individuals and
organisations from all over the world, committed to improving quality of life for people with Down syndrome worldwide
and promoting their inherent right to be accepted and included as valued and equal members of their communities
DSi provides information, through the DSi website, publications, expert panels, World Down Syndrome Congress and
other conferences, regional bodies, and in partnership with national representative Down syndrome advocacy
organisations. They also provide support and resources to people with Down syndrome. DSi represents people with
Down syndrome with a single global voice and encourage international communication and cooperation. Their aim is
to raise awareness about Down syndrome and the potential of people with Down syndrome to be valued members of
Down Syndrome Federation of India” (DSFI), an organization that offers support to individuals with Down’s
Syndrome and their families through various Down’s Syndrome Institutions across India. DSFI is registered with the
Office of the State Commissioner for the Differently Abled, Government of Tamil Nadu under Section 52 of the
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
Established in the year 1984, with 6 children, DSFI today serves innumerable children not only around India, but also
the Middle East. Dr. Surekha Ramachandran’s brainchild, DSFI has been a constant source of support and
encouragement for people who are unable to come to terms with DS. DSFI has been working for the cause of all
those who are affected by Down syndrome – whether it is individuals with DS, parents or siblings. Among the
services offered include counseling families that need assistance with regards to raising their children,, training
children to become more independent, providing physiotherapy, and speech therapy, and spreading awareness
about Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome Association of Tamilnadu (DSAT) has been a forerunner in bringing about thought transformation
for people associated with DS. The various therapies –occupational, behavioral, vocational, speech and physio has
brought about a remarkable transformation in individuals who now seem more confident. Lot of research programs,
awareness and outreach programs, specialized out-patient services, and early intervention programs are also
conducted and co-ordinated.