The Catalan Down Syndrome Foundation brought together experts and families from all over the world for the 12 International Conferences on Down Syndrome

Over two days, new aims in care and the promotion of independence for people with intellectual disabilities were addressed and reflected on from a multidisciplinary perspective.

To mark the celebration of our 30th anniversary, we gave the biannual Award for Research to Ramon Trias Fargas.

Coinciding with our 30th anniversary, we at the Catalan Down Syndrome Foundation organised the 12 International Conferences on Down Syndrome, “30 years and a marvellous future”, which brought together experts from all over the world on the 13th and 14th of November in the Great Hall for the Philosophy, Geography and History faculties at the University of Barcelona.

The conferences addressed the changes in paradigms and the new aims in care and the promotion of independencefor people with Down Syndrome or other intellectual disabilities from a multidisciplinary perspective. We covered topics such as human rights, current lines of research and care policies for people in inclusive environments.

Emiliano Bruner, responsible for research into paleoneurology at the National Centre of Research into Human Evolution, was in charge of the opening conference for the two days of talks, conferences and debates.

Other professionals also participated in the conferences, such as Ignacio Calderón, professor at the Department of Theory and History at the University of Malaga and defender of the inclusive school; Guillem Salvador, psychiatrist and supervisor of mental health teams; Isabel Guirao, founder of the A toda vela Association in Almeria and expert in inclusive leisure; Inés Elvira de Escallón, consultant at International Inclusion in Toronto; among others.

The families of people with intellectual disabilities have been incorporated into the debate with the presentation of different projects that have just been completed to improve the development and independence of their children. We learned about the experiences of families in Catalonia, Brazil and Mexico.

A space was dedicated to those people so that they could explain and share their life projects with the conference attendees. A member of the digital magazine, Exit 21, interviewed Martín Flores, Juan Miguel Sánchez, Andy Trias and Odile Fernández, four people who have demonstrated that, with adequate and necessary support, people with disabilities can achieve things that were unthinkable 30 years ago when the Catalan Down Syndrome Foundation was first founded.

Biannual Award for Research – Ramon Trias Fargas

To also mark the conferences, Ramon Trias Fargas was given the 12thBiennal Award for Research for his work on “***”, presented by Dr. Cristina Fillat, Dr. Xavier Altafaj, Dr. Xavier Bofill de Ros, et al from the August Pi I Sunyer Institute of Biomedical Research (IDIBAPS).

The second award was for the work on the “Effects of plyometric training for cardiorespiratory problems in children and adolescents with Down Syndrome” presented by Dr. José Antonio Casajús-Mallén, et al from the Department of Physiatry and Nursing at the University of Zaragoza.


People with Down Syndrome are increasingly demanding a voice, are being listened to by society and are expressing their opinions on the world in which they live. Èxit21 is an online platform created with the aim of responding to this need and at the same time is attempting to become more than just a medium of communication on the internet. In order to provide Èxit21 with the desired maximum professionalism, our writers receive the same training as journalists.


We at the Catalan Down Syndrome Foundation would like to thank the sponsors who made these conferences possible: Fundació Banc Sabadell, Laboratorios Leti and Laboratorios Ferrer; to the collaborators: Oxford, Elba, Valldeperas, Miquel Rius, Atrium Hotels, Hop Toys and Bagués; and to the administrations who have given us support: Generalitat de Catalunya, Diputació de Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona i Universitat de Barcelona.

Translated by Laura Miller within the initiative PerMondo. Sponsored by Mondo Agit offering translations from Spanish into English.