World Down Syndrome Day
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21. It is not yet known why this syndrome occurs, but Down syndrome has always been a part of the human condition. It exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics and health.
Adequate access to health care, to early intervention programmes, and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.
In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year. In order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome, the General Assembly invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner.
Why is World Down Syndrome Day important
- World Down Syndrome Day is just one day throughout the world. We focus on activities that help promote and raise awareness. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) works to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome every single day by advocating for our rights, inclusion, and education.
- The estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. Each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder.
- The quality of life of people with Down syndrome can be improved by meeting their health care needs, including regular check-ups with health professionals to monitor the mental and physical condition and to provide timely intervention be it physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counselling, or special education. Individuals with Down syndrome can achieve optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community-based support systems such as inclusive education at all levels. This facilitates their participation in mainstream society and the fulfillment of their personal potential.
How to observe World Down Syndrome Day
- The first thing you can do is rock some odd socks on March 21. Chromosomes are shaped like socks, and since those with Down syndrome carry an extra chromosome, mismatched socks are a great symbol for the day.
- On social media, the hashtag #LotsofSocks has been used in the past to signify the usage of such socks, so be on the lookout for that.
As we mark this day, keep the following in mind:
Down syndrome is life-changing. But it doesn’t change the things that are truly important in life! Nurture your relationships with your partner, children, friends, and family. Communicate with each other, laugh, do fun things together, celebrate traditions, and be sure to spend quality without focussing on the disability
In order to celebrate today effectively, here is a list of resources you can use to make the day special – or to plan ahead
- Celebrating the day
- Tips for parents
- International Nurses Day Celebration | The Live-In Care Experts
- Connecting with Children with Down Syndrome
- Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF)external icon
DSRF initiates research studies to better understand the learning styles of those with Down syndrome.
- Global Down Syndrome Foundationexternal icon
This foundation is dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy.
- National Association for Down Syndromeexternal icon
The National Association for Down Syndrome supports all persons with Down syndrome in achieving their full potential. They seek to help families, educate the public, address social issues and challenges, and facilitate active participation.
- National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)external icon
NDSS seeks to increase awareness and acceptance of those with Down syndrome.
- UN and other international NGO
- Non-Profits website for the observance