What Is World Down Syndrome Day?
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a worldwide awareness day that has been officially observed by the United Nations. It gives voice to people all over the world affected by Down syndrome including those who live and work with the condition. The awareness day aims to encourage more people to participate and raise awareness of the condition and help people understand the needs of people living with it. There are numerous activities that can help raise awareness of Down syndrome including what it is, what it means to have the condition and how people with Down syndrome play a role in communities and the world.
It is celebrated every year on the 21st of March with a different theme. This year, the theme will be “My Friends, My Community” – and let the world talk about the benefits of inclusive environments for today’s children and tomorrow’s adults. The goal this year is to educate the public that people with Down syndrome can contribute to society and lead a normal life just like everyone else. However, it is important not just for the family but also friends and the community to help the person with Down syndrome find his/her way.
About Down Syndrome
Down syndrome is among the most common genetic birth defects. It usually causes some degree of mental retardation and specific physical features. Many of people with the condition are also affected by other health problems.
The most common form of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) has an extra 21st chromosome instead of the normal 23 pairs of chromosomes. It is unclear why such chromosomal error occurs, but experts believe that it has something to do with the age of the mother. As a woman gets older, the risk of having a child with Down syndrome increases*.
At birth, babies with Down syndrome usually have distinct characteristics including:
- Flat facial features
- A small head with small ears
- Short neck
- Protruding tongue
- Eyes that slant upward
- Poor muscle tone
- Odd-shaped ears
- Treatments and Precautions
There is no cure* for Down syndrome but children with the condition can live productive lives. Treating Down syndrome primarily focuses on the different health problems specifically the chronic conditions that affect people with the condition. It is recommended to have regular vision and hearing testing, thyroid dysfunction evaluation and receive the usual childhood immunizations.
Purpose of World Down Syndrome Day
The aim of World Down Syndrome Day is to promote awareness and understanding while seeking international support and achieving dignity, equal rights and a better life for people all over the world with the condition. It uses different activities to have a tremendous impact in showcasing the abilities, accomplishments and talents of people with Down syndrome. The awareness day encourages everyone to organize or participate in activities that help raise awareness of Down syndrome.
The WDSD goal is to highlight that people with Down syndrome must be able to enjoy full and equal rights not just as children but as adults as well. They should be given opportunities and allowed to make their own choice. The awareness day aims to give help people with Down syndrome overcome the different challenges that prevent them from enjoying their basic human rights. It is also aimed at educating the family and friends of people with the condition regarding their role in guiding and helping the person with Down syndrome.
What Can You Do On World Down Syndrome Day?
- Help get people talking about WDSD
- Use social media to spread Down syndrome awareness
- Buy merchandise from the WDSD merchandise online shop
- Display WDSD posters in public places
- Organize an event in your area for World Down Syndrome Day
- Contact your local newspaper to write about WDSD
- Ask your local television or radio station to make a program about Down syndrome
- Wear a Down syndrome t-shirt on March 21
- Perform any act of kindness like checking on an elderly in your neighbourhood
- Print out brochures and flyers for WDSD to help raise awareness of the condition
- Visit the World Down Syndrome Day Website and check how you can help
Message of World Down Syndrome Day
People with Down syndrome are just like everyone else, and they should be able to enjoy their full and equal rights. They should be given opportunities and allowed to make their own choices so they can live normal, productive lives. Everyone should help people with the condition enjoy these basic human rights not just during World Down Syndrome Day but also on all other days of the year.