Down Syndrome or Trisomy-21 is one of the most common cognitive disorders worldwide, affecting one in 1000-1100 live births, according to WHO. Imagine a person who is a phenomenal dancer, a speaker, a philanthropist, a creative thinker, a musician, and she has a rare medical diagnosis. Why are people talking about the latter and negating everything else? How does that feel for this person who is so much but who has only ever really been seen for the one thing that others cannot be? People with down syndrome have to battle unfounded stereotypes every day. This comes part from fear of the unknown, part lack of responsibility, and all from varying levels of discrimination. But that’s a huge mistake.
In her own words, Mrs. Sameeksha Sajwan asks do you know what pushes people to be great? Adversity. So, you have a community of humans who have battled through their own health challenges from birth. By the time a person who has down syndrome is a toddler, they’ve often handled more adversity than many will in a lifetime. Not only does that mean that society is ignoring people who have the highest potential for greatness, but that society is ignoring people who have already proven their greatness. The world needs strong people with strong voices, so why does it mute those who have the most experience in being strong? Rather than spending awareness days listing out a bunch of generic medical diagnoses, she chooses to remove “generic” and “diagnoses” and focus on abilities. Honestly, someone else’s medical diagnosis is no-one else’s business. She is currently posted as the Secretary of Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI), Delhi and has represented India in the UN office (Geneva) for the cause of ‘Down Syndrome’. With the talk titled, ‘Blessed with Down Syndrome: For granted, nothing never!’, she has beautifully taken a walk down the memory lane while raising awareness about the families blessed with someone having ‘Down Syndrome’. Through her personal encounters with the supposed neurotypical society through her ‘sonshine’, she has courageously shared her pain and expectations from all of us as sensible, empathetic and compassionate individuals. From her realisations in forms of spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally strong to sail through it all and her religious practices that gave her strength – she revealed everything. Everyone is allowed to grieve over their losses and move forward with it is how she describes her blessed state.
Secretary, Down Syndrome Parents Society, Delhi This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
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