Down Syndrome Awareness

March 21, 2012 marks the 7th Anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day.  There are many things you can do to support individuals with Down syndrome in your community and around the world.


Be Respectful
:   Use positive language while talking about those with Down syndrome and others with special needs.  These individuals are children and adults with Down syndrome, not “Down’s kids” or a “Down syndrome child.” Don’t be afraid to share the message with others and encourage them to be respectful as well.  Know the facts while talking about Down syndrome:

  1. Down syndrome is a genetic condition which occurs in 1 of every 691 live births.
  2. Children and adults with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of 46.
  3. Down syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status.
  4. Children and adults with Down syndrome are more like those without Down syndrome than they are different.

Be Inclusive:    Individuals with Down syndrome do experience developmental delays, but they also have talents and gifts to share with others and should be given every opportunity and encouragement to do so.  Most children attend schools in their neighborhood, some in regular classes and some in special education.  Some adults with Down syndrome attend post-secondary education and volunteer in the community.

Many children and adults with Down syndrome play musical instruments and enjoy drawing and painting. Children and adults with Down syndrome participate on athletic teams, either with the Special Olympics or on integrated teams at school and in the community.  They have close friendships with others and may have boyfriends or girlfriends as well.

Include those with Down syndrome in your lives.  Invite a child with Down syndrome to your child’s birthday party.  Invite a family to church, a ball game or family BBQ. You’ll make great friends and learn that you are more alike than you are different.

Be Supportive:  When you see adults with Down syndrome working in the community, support them and the business they are working for.  Support your local organizations providing services for these families and children.  In Memphis, the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South (DSAM) provides many workshops for parents and educators throughout the year.  There are many Down syndrome associations across the United States and the world.  Most of these organizations are non-profits and function on private grants and funding.  Offer your support financially or by volunteering at their many events.

Be Involved: Support legislation and organizations to provide accurate information about Down syndrome to others. With the advancements of prenatal testing, expectant mothers are learning whether or not their baby has Down syndrome in the first trimester.  According to recent studies, 92% of women worldwide choose to terminate their pregnancy when they receive a definitive prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.  Dr. Brian Skotko and his associates have completed several studies about Down syndrome and you can follow his blog to learn more.

One of the most important things to know about Down syndrome is that each child and adult with Down syndrome is an individual – with their own unique personality, hopes, dreams and talents.

There are many different ways you can support children and adults with Down syndrome throughout your community.  To learn more, visit your local Down syndrome association or contact the following agencies:

National Down Syndrome Congress

National Association for Down Syndrome

National Down Syndrome Society

Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South

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