A group of toddlers with Down syndrome and their parents star in a fun festive video wishing everyone a happy Christmas, to raise vital funds for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).
It shows 34 families from across Ireland using singing, signing, gesturing and Lámh — a modified form of sign language which aids communication — to follow ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’.
The heartfelt video is titled ’21 Festive Hugs’. The charity chose the title ’21 Festive Hugs’ as Down syndrome occurs when there is one extra copy of chromosome 21 in cells in the body.
The video is the result of a culmination of a year of DSI’s virtual baby and toddler groups which the charity began running during the pandemic to help young children with their speech and language development and communication.
Early Years Specialist with Down Syndrome Ireland, Olive Buckeridge, said: “All of the children and their parents worked so hard and showed up for our weekly tele-practice sessions since the beginning of the pandemic – we’ve had such fun and we thought why not celebrate the little one’s wonderful achievements over the year!”
Mum Claire Colum and her daughter Kate said the groups have been a huge support.
She said: “Myself and Kate really enjoyed Olive’s online groups, they were so much fun, there was always something new and exciting each week and we learned so many Lámh signs along the way.
“We still love to watch the YouTube re-runs of the groups just as much. Thank you Olive and DSI for everything in 2020, Happy Christmas.”
The charity – which receives 85 per cent of its income through fundraising – outlined that income is down about 40% this year, and is urging people to support the charity if they can this Christmas.
You can donate to the charity at www.downsyndrome.ie/donate.