World Down Syndrome Day, celebrated on March 21, has arrived again.
Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome, occurs when a person is born with an extra chromosome.
The United Nations initially declared March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day in December 2011. The day was established to celebrate those with the condition, raise awareness, and defeat outdated associated stigma.
“We are committed to moving on from the outdated charity model of disability, where people with disability were treated as objects of charity, deserving of pity and relying on others for support,” said UN officials on a website commemorating World Down Syndrome Day.
The UN reports that Down syndrome occurs in about one in 1,100 live births. Between 3,000 and 5,000 children are born with the condition annually across the globe.
Dallas County recently recognized the day at the March 7 commissioners court meeting, as previously reported by The Dallas Express, to celebrate the 250,000 people in the United States who have Down syndrome.
The Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas is one of many organizations dedicated to advocating for and supporting those with Down syndrome and their families.
Jennifer Ford, executive director for the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas, told The Dallas Express that the organization currently has 2,500 registered families in its database.
The Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas started providing World Down Syndrome Day classroom kits to schools and families in 2022.
Each kit contains books, stickers, bracelets, and a lesson plan to inform students about the day and celebrate students in the classroom who have Down syndrome.
Members sent out 425 of these kits across the metroplex this year.
One way to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day is by participating in the Lots of Socks Campaign. Participants only need to wear mismatched and colorful socks around the community to participate.
Ford said that the campaign is inspired in part by the socks’ resemblance to chromosomes’ structure and the colors associated with them.
Ford told The Dallas Express that while she welcomes participation in the Lots of Socks Campaign, she also encourages families to celebrate their own way.
“It’s always an exciting day. It’s a fun day to just spread awareness and celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome,” said Ford.
You can support the organization and its mission by shopping at Kendra Scott store locations on March 21. Mentioning the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas at checkout will dedicate 20% of the proceeds to efforts to continue the organization’s mission.
Ford emphasized that society had come a long way with older “traditional” views of those with disabilities, noting that many with the condition lead productive and healthy lives.
“There are so many more opportunities … and early intervention has expanded not only the quality of life, but the life span of those with Down syndrome,” said Ford.
There are so many things we can learn from Down Syndrome people that we will never learn any other way. What great teachers!