Children with Down Syndrome thrive the most when their caregivers are adequately supported.
Ancella Ramjas is the head of Down Syndrome South Africa, and says all affected families should seek support from local organisations and related associations.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder which causes developmental and cognitive delays in children.
The cause of Down Syndrome is unknown, Ramjas explains. However, women above the age of 35 are at higher risk of giving birth to a child with the condition.
She says that prenatal screening or diagnostic screening can help pregnant women assess their chances of having a baby with Down Syndrome.
Ramjas's 21-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and she shares how it affected her family life.
She says parents often go through the stages of anger, blaming and bargaining before reaching acceptance.
Ramjas emphasises the importance of support for parents and caregivers to ensure their own well-being.
When my daughter was born 21 years ago, we did not know that I was having a child with Down Syndrome.— Ancella Ramjas, National Executive Director at Down Syndrome South Africa
Down Syndrome is the most common occurring genetic condition caused by random error in cell division, which results in an extra copy of chromosome 21.— Ancella Ramjas, National Executive Director at Down Syndrome South Africa
Maternal age does play a risk factor, not just for Down Syndrome, but for other genetic conditions as well.— Ancella Ramjas, National Executive Director at Down Syndrome South Africa
Dream big for your child. Maximise their potential. Always focus on what they can do and not what they can't do.— Ancella Ramjas, National Executive Director at Down Syndrome South Africa
Counselling psychologist Nicci Dawson advises that caring for a child with Down Syndrome involves greater psychological and physical pressures.
Dawson says a child with Down Syndrome may require more attention than their other siblings, creating challenging family dynamics.
The pair offered their expert advice on how to care for kids with Down Syndrome.
Take a listen to the discussion during the Family Matters feature: