March 21st is World Down Syndrome day. The day was established in 2006 and has since been globally recognised and observed by the UN since 2012. It is about bringing awareness to the condition and focusing on the abilities and lives of those with the condition.
The day is held on the 21st of March to represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes the syndrome. This triplication of the chromosome can cause abnormalities such as growth delays, facial characteristics and intellectual disabilities. Those with Down Syndrome will also have increased chances of other medical issues such as heart defects, Autism and Thyroid issues. The severity of any of these conditions will vary from person to person with some people able to live independently.
Each year the day focuses on a particular issue, this year the focus is #whatIbringtothecommunity. It is about giving people with Down Syndrome the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the community, and making the public realise that they can be independent and help the community around them whether that is in school, work, or their neighbourhood.
The World Down Syndrome day website states:
Down Syndrome International’s campaign aims to:
- Explain how people with Down syndrome can and do make meaningful contributions throughout their lives, whether in schools, workplaces, living in the community, public and political life, culture, media, recreation, leisure and sport;
- Explain how negative attitudes and a lack of knowledge about their potential as individuals prevent people with Down syndrome from having opportunities to make contributions;
- Empower people with Down syndrome (and those supporting them) to advocate for their rights and opportunities to make meaningful contributions and
- Reach out to key stakeholders including educators, employers, public authorities, media and the wider community to ensure they see the benefits of enabling people with Down syndrome to make meaningful contributions and encourage these stakeholders to bring about change and disseminate this message.
Lots of socks
Lots of socks is a fun initiative for World Down Syndrome day campaign. Socks resemble chromosomes and an extra chromosome is the cause of Down Syndrome. The initiative encourages people to wear odd socks in support for the day and to fund raise.
Visit the World Down Syndrome day website for more information.
Our work with with charities such as The Lord Taverners means we meet many children and adults with various conditions including Down Syndrome, this is why we understand days like this are important to bring awareness and to help people see abilities and not disabilities.