World Down Syndrome Day: Facts and How to Show Your Support

What is World Down Syndrome Day?
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day reminding everyone worldwide of the importance of inclusion, advocacy, and fair treatment for people with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome occurs when a baby is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. Instead of the naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement of 2, a baby born with Down syndrome has 3. DS is not genetic. Only 1% of all cases are hereditary and passed down from parent to child. There are three types of Down syndrome, which are Trisomy 21, translocation Down syndrome, and mosaic Down syndrome.

History of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) World Down Syndrome Day was officially recognized in 2012, but it actually started 6 years earlier, in 2006, when Down Syndrome Association Singapore launched and hosted the WDSD website on behalf of DSi (Down Syndrome International). In an effort to raise awareness, the United Nations and other international organizations asked that all individuals observe 3/21 to support people with DS.

Themes for WDSD
Every year, there is a different theme for WDSD. These unique global campaigns help promote DS awareness, encouraging others to join together in support. The 2024 theme for 3/21 is “End The Stereotypes.” Stereotypes are widely accepted beliefs about a specific group, which often do not reflect what is true. Stereotypes are hurtful. In the DS community, stereotypes have done more harm than good in advocating for DS rights and inclusion. The goal of WDSD and the DS community is to change that. 

What Date is World Down Syndrome Day?
World Down Syndrome Day is held on March 21st each year. It has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. This date has special significance for the Down syndrome community. March 21st (or 3-21) relates to the uniqueness of trisomy (3) of the 21st chromosome, which causes DS.

 

Mother and daughter with Down syndrome reading a book

How do you celebrate World Down Syndrome Day?
You can get involved and show your support in several ways for the month of March. Start with some of these activities below to create awareness.

Share Your Story
Do you or a loved one have Down syndrome? Or maybe you’re an advocate for those with DS. Taking the time to share your story with others can be inspiring. You can do this by posting on social media (Tag “DownSyndrome Achieves” if you post on LinkedIn or Facebook) or by writing a blog post. You can also share your story one-on-one or offer to give a presentation for a few minutes with a group of your closest coworkers. Making intentional time to share why DS is important to you can motivate others to join such a powerful movement.

Educate Yourself
Use the month of March as a reminder to learn more about DS.

Look into new research studies and what’s being done for the DS community. Search for organizations near you where you can get involved. The more you educate yourself on what’s happening with people with Down syndrome, the more you can become an advocate for their needs. 

Wear Unique Socks on World Down Syndrome Day
You can 
show your support for this fun and crazy socks campaign by purchasing a pair of bright socks and wearing them on 3/21. This is a visual reminder to those around you that you care about people with DS and want to do your part. It’s also a fun way to get your friends and family involved. 

Support a Local Business Employing People with Down Syndrome
Take note of local businesses employing people with DS. Make an effort to choose them the next time you need a particular product or service they may provide. This purposeful action can be a very subtle but intentional way to show your support for DS inclusion and equal employment opportunities.

Make a Donation
Make a donation to DownSyndrome Achieves or another DS organization, and be purposeful about contributing financially. At dsachieves.org, you can choose to donate once or make it a recurring gift each month. Financially giving to organizations that support DS research or other DS causes ensures they can continue their important missions of advocating and supporting the DS community. 

Why World Down Syndrome Day is Important to DownSyndrome Achieves
At DownSyndrome Achieves, we believe the research we do today will result in healthier lives tomorrow for people living with Down syndrome. DSA envisions a future with decreased health complications for people living with Down syndrome, and we want to ensure they can maximize their potential and lead healthier, more active, and independent lives. World Down Syndrome Day allows us another opportunity to spread awareness about our mission around the importance of DS research.

How we make discoveries is by researchers utilizing biospecimens donated to the DSA Biobank located at The Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH.

Learn more about DownSyndrome Achieves or follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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