This page is recognizing those with Down Syndrome that they are people and we treat them with respect dignity.
the life stories of those living with Down Syndrome.
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), observed on 21 March every year, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.
of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
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What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. It occurs in 1 in every 792 live births. Individuals with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder.
Down syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status. The most important fact to know about individuals with Down syndrome is that they are more like others than they are different.
Down syndrome is usually identified at birth or shortly thereafter. Initially the diagnosis is based on physical characteristics that are commonly seen in babies with Down syndrome. These include low muscle tone, a single crease across the palm of the hand, a slightly flattened facial profile and an upward slant to the eyes. The diagnosis must be confirmed by a chromosome study (karyotype). A karyotype provides a visual display of the chromosomes grouped by their size, number and shape. Chromosomes may be studied by examining blood or tissue cells.
Down syndrome is usually caused by an error in cell division called nondisjunction. It is not known why this occurs. However, it is known that the error occurs at conception and is not related to anything the mother did during pregnancy. It has been known for some time that the incidence of Down syndrome increases with advancing maternal age. However, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
Types of Down Syndrome
There are three chromosomal patterns that result in Down syndrome:
- Trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) is caused by a faulty cell division that results in the baby having three #21 chromosomes instead of two. Prior to or at conception, a pair of #21 chromosomes in either the egg or the sperm fails to separate properly. The extra chromosome is replicated in every cell of the body. Ninety-five percent of all people with Down syndrome have Trisomy 21.
- Translocation accounts for only 3% to 4% of all cases. In translocation a part of chromosome #21 breaks off during cell division and attaches to another chromosome. The presence of an extra piece of the 21st chromosome causes the characteristics of Down syndrome. Unlike Trisomy 21, which is the result of random error in the early cell division, translocation may indicate that one of the parents is carrying chromosomal material that is arranged in an unusual manner. Genetic counseling can be sought to ascertain more information when these circumstances occur.
- Mosaicism occurs when nondisjunction of chromosome #21 takes place in one of the initial cell divisions after fertilization. When this happens, there is a mixture of two types of cells, some containing 46 chromosomes and some 47. The cells with 47 chromosomes contain an extra 21st chromosome. Because of the “mosaic” pattern of the cells, the term mosaicism is used. This type of Down syndrome occurs in only one to two percent of all cases of Down syndrome.
Regardless of the type of Down syndrome a person may have, a critical portion of the 21st chromosome is present in some or all of their cells. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with the syndrome.
Learning & Development
It is important to remember that while children and adults with Down syndrome experience developmental delays, they also have many talents and gifts and should be given the opportunity and encouragement to develop them.
Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate impairments but it is important to note that they are more like other children than they are different. Early Intervention services should be provided shortly after birth. These services should include physical, speech and developmental therapies. Most children attend their neighborhood schools, some in regular classes and others in special education classes. Some children have more significant needs and require a more specialized program.
Some high school graduates with Down syndrome participate in post-secondary education. Many adults with Down syndrome are capable of working in the community, but some require a more structured environment.
Many children with Down syndrome have health complications beyond the usual childhood illnesses. Approximately 40% of the children have congenital heart defects. It is very important that an echocardiogram be performed on all newborns with Down syndrome in order to identify any serious cardiac problems that might be present. Some of the heart conditions require surgery while others only require careful monitoring. Children with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of infection, respiratory, vision and hearing problems as well as thyroid and other medical conditions. However, with appropriate medical care most children and adults with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives. The average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 60 years, with many living into their sixties and seventies.
Two types of procedures are available to pregnant women: screening tests and diagnostic tests. The screening tests estimate the risk of the baby having Down syndrome. Diagnostic tests tell whether or not the baby actually has Down syndrome.
- Maternal serum tests, such as the triple screen or quad screen, measure quantities of various substances in the blood. These tests are usually done between 15 and 20 weeks gestation.
- Newer non-invasive tests have been developed which look for genetic material from the baby in the mother’s blood. They can be done earlier in the pregnancy and are more accurate than other screening tests, but they are currently recommended only for “high risk” pregnancies.
- Sonograms (ultrasounds) are usually performed in conjunction with other screenings. These can show some physical traits that are helpful in calculating the risk of Down syndrome.
- Screening tests do not accurately confirm the diagnosis of Down syndrome. In fact, false positives and false negatives frequently occur.
Three diagnostic tests are currently available:
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is conducted between 10 and 12 weeks. In this test, a small piece of the placenta (chorionic villus) will be taken and analyzed.
- Amniocentesis is performed between 14 and 20 weeks. A small sample of amniotic fluid is drawn, and cells in the fluid are tested.
- Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS) is performed after 18 weeks. This test examines blood from the umbilical cord.
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North Shore ConneXions Society (ConneXions) is a non-profit organization in North Vancouver, Canada that supports individuals living with intellectual disabilities. We are proud supporters of World Down Syndrome Day and strong believers in self-advocacy and bringing awareness to our community by lifting stigmas and educating community members on inclusion.
This year we are proud to launch the #connectwithsox contest. The rules are as follows:
Dates: March 13, 2017 – March 21, 2017
Use the hashtag #connectwithsox and tag us using one of our social media handles below, showing us your creativity and support of different coloured socks or funky socks, etc.
All entries will be entered in a draw to win a gift card!
For questions or more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Down Right Cute is a new website hosted by a mom blogger whose child has Down syndrome in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. The aim of the website DownRightCute.com is to promote awareness about Down syndrome by communicating relevant, up-to-date information about Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21. The goal is to change the antiquated perspectives about Down Syndrome from 30 years ago and bring a new 21st Century perspective that is respectful, accepting, and inclusive for Down Syndrome in all communities.
This is our first World Down Syndrome Day and to celebrate we are hosting a draw!
The rules are as follows:
From March 14, 2017 to March 21, 2017
Show your support for us and the world by posting a picture of you wearing mis-matched and colorful socks. Anyone can participate! Randomly pull out two socks from your sock drawer and wear them. Whether they’re colorful, striped, or zebra print, it doesn’t matter-as long as you are making a statement.
If anyone asks, you can talk about how you support the inclusiveness of those with Down syndrome in your community.
Use the hastag #IheartT21 and tag us by using one of our social media handles below:
All who post in North America with the #IheartT21 will be entered into a draw to win a $20 CAD Visa Gift Card! Depending on response, we may have more than one to draw for! Go wear your wildest socks, rock ’em, and start snappin’!
For questions or more information contact: admin@DownRightCute.com
We are not accepting donations. If you are wanting to donate, please donate to the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society at www.edss.ca
HDSA’s World Down Syndrome Day Contest is open to all Public and Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Halton. The ultimate goal is to spread awareness about Down syndrome and to help educate and shape young minds. The project is about building character and showing students the concepts of equality, empathy, respect, friendship, acceptance, and responsibility.
Good reasons to participate:
1. Help raise awareness about Down syndrome and join an international celebration
2. Foster diversity and inclusion in your school and community
3. Teach children the importance of equality, empathy, respect, acceptance, friendship and responsibility
4. Have fun and win prizes! You can win up to $ 3,000 for your school
Enjoy an all you can eat Taco bar and strike a pose at the ‘Sock Selfie’ photobooth. Cheer on the models in the West Shore fashion show and find out the winner of the coveted ‘Golden Sock Award’!
The evening’s feature will be the first public reading of ‘Meet Will and Jake – Best Friends Forever!’ This original children’s book was written by Kincardine’s ‘Homies with Extra Chromies’ group and features a character with Down syndrome. The funds raised at this celebration will support costs associated with publishing the book in the spring.
LOTS OF SOCKS Social Media Toolkit (Download)
We want to get people talking about WDSD on 21 March!
We can do this if we all wear #LOTS OF SOCKS.
BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS…wear our Official LOTS OF SOCKS socks, other brightly coloured socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock… even 3 socks for 3 chromosomes. If you do not normally wear socks, then wear them. AND WHY STOP AT SOCKS? Wear our LOTS OF SOCKS t-shirts, WDSD t-shirts or other brightly coloured clothing.
The choice is yours, but we ask you to join us wearing something which people will ask you about so that you can tell them all about WDSD. It is easy to do, so whether you are at home, nursery, school, college, university, work, play, travel, holiday or anywhere, join in!
On 21 March, wear #LOTSOFSOCKS and invite all your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
Go ahead and use the hashtag #LOTSOFSOCKS across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so we can create an online community.
Here is our 2017 #LOTSOFSOCKS poster for EMAIL use:
We also have PRINT ready posters in A3 and A4 sizes, which you can request with a Fundraising Pack (see WDSD FUNDRAISING page).
You can take part in #LOTSOFSOCKS and also support people with Down syndrome by:
- Ordering Official WDSD Merchandise from your national Down syndrome organisation or from Down Syndrome International.
- Raising funds to support people with Down syndrome.
- Donating this money to your local, regional or national Down syndrome charity BUT consider donating at least 25% to Down Syndrome International to support our outreach training programmes in developing countries.
If you would like to raise some funds or organise a fundraising event, go to our WDSD FUNDRAISING page for step-by-step guidance. Consider doing this even if you are splitting the funds between DSi and other charities. We can also send you a Fundraising Pack.
Please contact our International Office if you have any queries.