Beau Campbell (11), of Dunedin, strikes out during a game
of cricket at the Otago Down Syndrome Association's picnic
in Woodhaugh Gardens yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Extra chromosomes were celebrated at an Otago Down
Syndrome Association picnic in Dunedin yesterday.
Organised as an association fundraiser in acknowledgement of
World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, the picnic attracted
dozens of families to Woodhaugh Gardens.
Many in attendance wore T-shirts with the slogan ''Keep calm,
it's only an extra chromosome''.
Highlanders Ben Smith and Phil Burleigh helped with a sausage
sizzle and others ran a bake sale, while children with Down
syndrome played cricket and participated in a range of
Association convener Karola Franklyn, of Dunedin, said
children with Down syndrome were ''just as difficult or just
as easy'' as any other child.
She and other parents of Down syndrome children formed the
association almost three years ago because there was no such
social or support group in the area at the time.
It started with a small number of family gatherings and
social events, but Mrs Franklyn said as word spread about the
association more people from throughout Otago were becoming
She had increasing numbers of calls from adults with Down
syndrome looking for solidarity and support, as well as women
pregnant with Down syndrome babies.
''One of the biggest problems for people with Down syndrome,
especially adults, is isolation,'' she said.
The association has also started organising professional
development courses for teachers to learn about dealing with
Down syndrome pupils.
Mrs Franklyn said the courses had been well attended, as
teachers welcomed the specialist training.