By Terry Orr
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed on 21 March. On this day, people with Down Syndrome and those who live and work with them throughout the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.
21 March 2013 marks the 8th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. But there is still so much more we can do.
What is Down Syndrome?
In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm - although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all. [Source: ndss]
Down Syndrome Fact Sheet ( http://www.ndss.org/PageFiles/1474/NDSS%20Down%20Syndrome%20Fact%20Sheet%20English.ppt%20%5bCompatibility%20Mode%5d.pdf ) provides an excellent overview. Below are a few facts from this fact sheet:
- Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition; one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
- Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
- Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
- All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
- Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to realize their life aspirations and lead fulfilling lives.
For those interested in learning more about Down Syndrome, I recommend starting with wikipedia link below, as it provides an excellent starting point.
References and Links:
(All images from Google)