On Sunday, June 21st Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) is inviting households, neighbours and communities to join them for Ireland’s biggest street dance and Dance4DSI to help raise vital funds to continue and improve upon their growing online services to support children and adults with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ireland. The COVID-19 crisis has adversely affected all face to face services provided by DSI and as a result, the way in which these services are provided has had to change dramatically.
No matter where you live across the country, Dance4DSI is the way to reconnect with your neighbours at a safe distance and dancing is a fantastic way to make you feel good.
Dance4DSI will take place at 3 pm on June 21st, coinciding with the summer solstice. The number 21 also carries a special meaning as Down syndrome occurs when there is one extra copy of chromosome 21 in cells in the body. DSI are encouraging everyone to get involved by donating what they can through downsydrome.ie. Then share photos or video on social media of their family and neighbours dancing in the street to their favourite summer song, using the hashtag #Dance4DSI.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of DSI’s regular fundraising activities have been unable to go ahead and funds are urgently needed in order to provide vital online support services in areas including speech and language and early development.
When COVID-19 hit, DSI had to adapt quickly to ensure that their members receive the vital support they need. Olive Buckeridge, Early Years Specialist with Down Syndrome Ireland has now been providing essential services through Zoom to families across the country.
Adrian and Aoife Doherty from Ballina in Co. Mayo whose three-year-old son Louis has Down syndrome, have experienced first-hand the benefits of DSI’s online services. Adrian and Aoife have been learning how to teach Louis Lámh through online Zoom calls with Olive Buckeridge at DSI. Lámh is a manual sign system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs in Ireland.
Commenting on the benefits, Adrian said, “The online supports provided by DSI have been fantastic. As a family, we’re learning so much and it’s great that Olive is using Lámh. We’ve learnt more in the past five weeks through Olive’s Zoom calls than in the three years of early intervention – or lack of early intervention prior to joining DSI.”
Deirdre Saul, Interim CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland is urging the public to come together while still respecting and adhering to social distancing guidelines. “We are extremely grateful for the fantastic support we have received from the public in recent months and that
support really does make a difference to the lives of so many children and adults with Down syndrome, and of course their families, in Ireland. I hope as many people, neighbours and communities as possible can join us for Dance4DSI on Sunday 21st June and we’re looking forward to seeing lots of videos and photos shared across social media.”
Deirdre stressed, “We urge everyone to remember social distancing at all times but ultimately this is about having some fun in your community.”
For further information about Dance4DSI and the work of Down Syndrome Ireland please visit downsyndrome.ie