Celebrate the 1 in 691 infants who are born with an extra chromosome on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day.
Observed on the 21st day of the third month to signify the trisomy, or three copies, of chromosome 21 that most often causes the syndrome, World Down Syndrome Day was established in 2006 to promote the social rights and abilities of those living with Down syndrome. To add to the growing awareness and significance, 2012 marks the first year the United Nations and its 192 member countries have recognized the event.
Medical treatment, education, and community support have dramatically improved in recent decades, as well as attitudes toward Down syndrome, but advocates hope to increase awareness through the internationally-recognized day. Campaigns by organizations such as the National Down Syndrome Society and Down Syndrome International hope to inform the public of factual medical information about the syndrome, as well as the full life—including education, career and love—those with Down syndrome can enjoy.
Supporters have been counting down to the big day by sharing their stories through the NDSS website. The site is also an excellent resource for information about Down syndrome, ongoing research, and educational initiatives to fulfill the mission “to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.”
Head to worlddownsyndromeday.org to find events in your area. If you want to participate on a national level, check out the UN-hosted “Building Our Future” conference in New York City. Featuring lectures by international experts, the day-long seminar will explore topics including education, society attitudes, and independent living.
Even if you don’t personally know a child with Down syndrome, read up on the topic. You never know when an extra 21st chromosome will impact your life.
Did you know?
-Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder.
-People with Down syndrome have varying degrees of cognitive delays and many fully participate in educational programs.
-Researchers are learning more everyday and believe one day it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent the problems that are a result of Down syndrome.