What is Down Syndrome?
World Down Syndrome Day was created and is celebrated worldwide on March 21st every year. It has also officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. WDSD is recognized on this day to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
What is Down Syndrome?
According to www.worlddownsyndromeday.org, “Down Syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socioeconomic lines in approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues”. Scientists have identified an extra copy of chromosome number twenty-one to be the cause of down syndrome and there are 3 types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21, Translocation and Mosaicism.
Why is World Down Syndrome Day so important?
People with Down syndrome worldwide face widespread discrimination and exclusion from society, including access to basic services such as education and healthcare. In many countries, misconceptions and stigma surrounding the condition can lead to maltreatment and, in some cases, even death.
While many people worldwide are working to change this, there is a long way to go to ensure that the rights of persons with Down syndrome are respected, protected and fulfilled.
WDSD provides an opportunity for people to learn more about those living with Down Syndrome, and how we can create a more inclusive world for all individuals. This day brings a chance to promote awareness around the challenges that many people face and what things can be done to remove barriers and stigma and promote kindness and acceptance.
How is World Down Syndrome Day celebrated?
There are several ways that this day is marked including lighting up local landmarks, social media campaigns targeted at inclusion and acceptance, virtual events, and much more. But perhaps the most recognizable element of WDSD is the Rock Your Socks or Lots Of Socks campaigns. In 2013, the theme of wearing funky and loud socks was initiated to raise awareness because chromosomes are shaped “like socks” and people with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome.
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