THE Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation - National Centre (KDSF-NC) is celebrating 30 years with a charity gala dinner on Nov 1 at HGH Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
The charity gala aims to show appreciation to those who have contributed in their own special way to the centre, whether as students, teachers, therapists, administrators, sponsors and donors.
Themed “30 Magical Years”, the dinner will feature performances by the string ensemble of the klpac Orchestra, Philharmonic Society of Selangor, 24 Drums Showcase by SJKC Sentul as well as performances from KDSF-NC students and alumni.
The centre started when members of the Kiwanis Club of Kuala Lumpur were given a challenge to undertake a long-term community service project.
The members surveyed the community’s needs and found that facilities for children with special needs were limited.
Down Syndrome is the most common genetic disorder that affects about one in every 800 babies every year.
The members agreed that a facility for children with Down Syndrome would be of great benefit to the community.
With the help of Malaysian Care and clinical psychologist Robert Deller, the Kiwanis Down Syndrome Centre in Petaling Jaya was set up in 1989.
The KDSF–Petaling Jaya Centre started with just two teachers and 15 children in a rented bungalow in Jalan Gasing.
Within a short span of time the adjacent bungalow was rented to accommodate the increase in enrolment.
Today, the KDSF-NC provides critical early intervention programmes to more than 130 children with Down Syndrome from two months to six years.
The main aim of the centre is to build the foundation skills of the children, assist them to achieve their maximum potential and prepare them for school.
The centre’s programme emphasises the development of gross motor, speech and language, social, perceptual cognitive and pre-academic skills.
There is also a strong physiotherapy and occupational therapy team that provides therapeutic training for all the students in the centre.
Over the past 30 years, the centre has assisted in the early development of more than 2,000 children with Down Syndrome.
Many of the children who have gone through the education programme, have subsequently been accepted into normal kindergartens or enrolled into mainstream classes in government and international schools.
The KDSF-NC management team has a vision that all the students will be absorbed into the mainstream education system.
The centre continuously improves the programmes to help the children achieve their highest potential.
Entry to the charity gala is via donations. For details, call 03-7803 0179 or 03-7886 0314.