Plainview, New York -- “I tried my hardest, I spoke from my heart,” said Michael Brennan, 28, an ACDS group home resident who was one of the featured panelists at the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) event March 21, that for the first time was officially observed by the United Nations.“I always wanted to live in my own house. I've been able to the last two years and I love it,” said Brennan who shared his story and talked about the importance of living independently at the “Building Our Future” conference at the UN Plaza in New York.
Representatives from Canada, Nigeria, Brazil, Poland, Sweden, Pakistan, Nepal, Yemen and other countries around the globe gathered and participated in panels on topics such as promoting inclusion in schools in Indonesia; fighting for the right to vote in Peru; Care, Treatment and Research – what's new on the Down syndrome front, among others.ACDS' Director of Residential Services, Tom Forester made a presentation on supporting safe independence. “ACDS was the only provider agency invited. It was an honor to be able to share with the world how we deal with residential services.
The event gave a contrast of where we are across the world, and how we deal with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. What we take for granted in the U.S., elsewhere isn't even thought of,” said Forester.Several organizations around the world collaborated with the international charity, Down Syndrome International to put together the event.WDSD was first established by Down Syndrome International and celebrated since 2006, and is observed in over 60 countries around the world.
The aim of the day is to raise awareness and increase the understanding about Down syndrome, to promote the inherent rights and dignity of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and to recognize the worth and valuable contributions of people with Down syndrome.