Some tips for working with people with Down syndrome
Down syndrome is a developmental disorder where the individual will have an extra copy of chromosome 21. This can affect their brain functioning in many ways. Today, medicine and health care has improved a lot and reaches out to people with Down syndrome to help them lead a better quality life.
People with Down syndrome have great social skills. Hence, they are good with interacting and mingling with other people. That is one of the reasons why they would make great colleagues too. Unlike earlier days, people with Down syndrome are now working in companies while many have started their own businesses. With the right guidance, people with Down syndrome can do exceptionally well in life and become independent too. Today, there are many inclusive private and government firms that support people with Down syndrome.
Shyamashree Bhonsle, Advisor at Jagruti Pakak Sanstha, an NGO in Thane says that people with Down syndrome can be great colleagues and good company as well.
Children and adults with Down syndrome are very friendly and loving. Their innocence is one of the best qualities that are hard to find in today’s world. When you work with them, you must try and understand their basic needs and requirements. Even they have mood swings and tantrums just any other person. Colleagues must try and accommodate all that. A good team leader or manager can bring the best out of them. You can also reward them when they do something good. Be patient and understanding when you work with a person who has Down syndrome. Nobody likes to be humiliated or insulted-Shyamashree Bhonsle, Advisor, Jagruthi Palak Sanstha
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you work with a colleague who has Down syndrome
- Be positive- Everybody loves to be encouraged and supported. At work places, chances are high that people with Down syndrome are often looked down irrespective of their skills or talents. The quality of a good colleague is to never let them down. A person with Down syndrome can achieve things and be great co-workers. Keep supporting them and stay positive. For them, it matters a lot.
- Make them feel welcome- In today’s world, inclusion is important for progress. The more you make your colleague with Down syndrome feel welcome and wanted, the more productivity they will have. You can ask them questions about what they want and make them feel comfortable in the work environment. Apart from creating a positive atmosphere, it ensures social inclusion as well.
- Do not under-estimate their skills- Most people think that a person with Down syndrome cannot achieve anything. But that clearly is a misconception. There are many successful people with Down syndrome across the globe who are doing exceptionally well for themselves. Give them the opportunity and provide them the right platform to showcase their talents and skills. This will benefit the team and the company as well.
- Slow down- Sometimes, for a person with Down syndrome, it will take time to hear and analyse what the other person says. As a colleague, you must respect that and give them time to process things. Do not talk to them as if do not understand you. It might take a few seconds, but give them all that time they need. Wait for what they have to say, and if there are any questions clear that for them.
“When you have a colleague with Down syndrome, it is important to be understanding and patient. They are great co-workers who can do really well with goo guidance, says Rekha, Co-founder of Buddhi Special School in Bengaluru.