Paray Calls for Equal Access for Down Syndrome Individuals

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

CHILDREN with disabilities should be able to learn side-by-side with other children in a more inclusive education system.

Member of Parliament for Mayaro Rushton Paray made the call on Tuesday while commemorating World Down syndrome Day.

Paray participated in a celebratory walk through Rio Claro, organised by the Rio Claro Learning and Development Centre for Special Children.

The event aimed to raise awareness of the rights, capabilities and dreams of individuals with Down syndrome.

Paray told AZP News on Wednesday that education and integration in the public school system were essential for the development of persons with Down syndrome because they enable them to acquire knowledge and skills that can enhance their ability to lead fulfilling lives. 

“By strengthening our educational development policies, this will enable them to  learn to communicate effectively, develop social skills, and cultivate self-confidence. Integration in the public school system enables them to interact with their peers and build meaningful relationships, which boost their self-esteem and sense of belonging,” he said.

Paray added, “It is my wish that every primary and secondary school should have one class dedicated for special needs children. It should be tooled and staffed by professionally trained persons to facilitate the type of social integration that is necessary to have them lead the best quality of life possible.”

In his address at the event, Paray reaffirmed his commitment to fostering the inclusion and dignity of people with Down syndrome in the community. He emphasized the need for a multi-faceted approach encompassing education, advocacy and policy reform to create a more inclusive society.

In employment, Paray urged equal opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and advocated for challenging prejudiced attitudes and practices. He emphasized the importance of providing training, support and creating inclusive work environments that celebrate diversity and accommodate employees with disabilities.

And in community life, he emphasised  the need to ensure equal access to opportunities and services for individuals with Down syndrome, including healthcare, transportation, housing, and social activities. 

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar also shared her sentiments on World Down syndrome Day.

In a Facebook post, she stated, “I want to take a moment to acknowledge and observe World Down Syndrome Day 2023. Let us come together as a nation to raise awareness, promote inclusion and support the rights of individuals with Down Syndrome. 

Today, I reaffirm our commitment to building a more inclusive society that embraces diversity and ensures equal opportunities for all. Let us celebrate the amazing contributions and achievements of people with Down Syndrome and pledge to continue working toward a brighter future for them and their families.”


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