Down Syndrome Australia (DSA) has launched a new app to provide information about Down syndrome to the community to help break down stigma and barriers.
The Ask About Down Syndrome app launched on World Down Syndrome Day, 21 March 2020, the international awareness day promoting a better understanding of Down syndrome.
This year the theme for World Down Syndrome Day was “We decide”, in recognition of the right of people with Down syndrome to have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives.
DSA Cheif Executive Officer, Dr Ellen Skladzien says, “Listening to people with Down syndrome about their experiences is key to breaking down barriers and tackling the stigma experienced by so many people with Down syndrome in the community.”
The Ask About Down Syndrome app features people with Down syndrome answering questions and sharing their stories about community inclusion, barriers they face, and how these issues can be addressed in society.
Dr Szladzien says, “People with Down syndrome from across the country were filmed answering questions and talking about their experiences of inclusion.”
The stories being told cover a variety of subjects including accessing public transport, supporting others with Down syndrome, employment advice, and even what makes a good doctor.
Kelly, one of the people filmed as a part of the app, answered questions about not being understood and how it made her feel ‘excluded’.
While Rei wants people to know that he “has Down syndrome but I can look after myself.”
The new app, which according to DSA is a world first, provides information about Down syndrome and was developed alongside people living with Down syndrome.
People are also able to participate in providing information by submitting a question, answer or a story.
Dr Szladzien says the app provides a platform of inclusion for people with Down syndrome as people face social isolation due to COVID-19.
“During this difficult time many people with disability face possible isolation, so we hope that these practical suggestions of inclusion people with Down syndrome have shared on the app, are embraced.”
The app also links to a range of resources that support and promote community inclusion.
More information is available at Ask About Down Syndrome App.