Happy World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) March 21st, 2018!! This is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. It is a day dedicated to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play an integral role in our communities.
The significance of the annual date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the 21st chromosome having an extra full or partial copy, which causes Down syndrome. Let’s all raise awareness in our own lives/communities. Here are some facts that may surprise you about individuals that have Down syndrome.
21 FACTS ABOUT DOWN SYNDROME
1. Down syndrome is a genetic condition. There are *three* types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.
2. People with Trisomy 21 have 47 Chromosomes instead of 46 in each cell. This is because of an error in cell division called nondisjunction. At some point, a pair of 21st chromosomes in either the sperm or the egg fails to separate. As the embryo
develops, an extra chromosome is copied in every cell of the body.
3. It occurs once in every 691 live births.
4. John Langdon Down, an English physician, named the anomaly “Down syndrome” in 1866.
5. More than 400,000 people in the U.S. have this genetic condition.
6. Individuals with Down syndrome, and their families, prefer “people first” language when referring to them. They are individuals who have Down syndrome. Babies with Down syndrome are not down’s babies.
7. Most people with Down syndrome fall into the mild to moderate range of mental impairment.
8. Several health complications could occur in individuals with Down syndrome. Some include heart defects, low muscle tone, thyroid disease, and vision and hearing problems. However, most of these conditions, when treated, do not get in the way of people living full lives.
9. Down syndrome affects people of all ages, races and economic levels.
10. People who have Down syndrome are active participants educationally, vocationally, socially and recreationally.
11. Individuals with Down syndrome are not always happy, although that is a generalization that people make. They absolutely can be happy. They also get mad, grumpy, tired, selfish, and frustrated, just like the rest of us.
12. Individuals with Down syndrome are more like you, than different.
13. Most little ones, from birth to age three, take advantage of early intervention therapies, like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and developmental therapy.
14. Years ago, people with Down syndrome were usually Institutionalized with the assumption that they were unable to learn. That assumption has been proven inaccurate! Individuals with Down syndrome are very successful! Some own businesses, work independently, write books, and act in movies/TV.
15. Quite a few people with Down syndrome are ultra-flexible.
16. Down syndrome is not a death sentence for the individual, nor for the family. Down syndrome is one piece of an individual, it doesn’t define the individual!
17. All the chromosomal material in individuals who have Down syndrome is normal. There is just more of it.
18. Many children with Down syndrome are in included now in typical classrooms throughout the U.S.
19. People with Down syndrome are not all the same. They are individuals with individual strengths, weaknesses, desires and struggles.
20. The diagnosis at first is based on physical characteristics that are usually seen in babies with Down syndrome. Things like: low muscle tone, a single crease across the palm of the hand, a slightly flattened facial profile and an upward slant to the eyes. Then a blood sample is taken to confirm or disprove the suspicion.
21. 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to mothers under the age of 35.
As we celebrate this day and our loved ones with Down syndrome, please join us in taking the Generation G Pledge! Make a conscious decision to be better every day.
Be Accepting. Be Generous. Be Kind.