Tomorrow, Thursday, March 21, 2013 is World Down Syndrome Day. This is a day of global awareness, for everyone to come together and let their voices be heard for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome all over the world. Each year World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21st. March, the third month of the year, representing the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome.
It is very important to me to advocate for Sophia and about Down syndrome. I want people to understand that even though it takes Sophia a little longer to learn new things, she is very capable of learning new things, each and every day. She is a person. She has hopes and dreams and goals that she works toward each and every day. She may not be able to run as fast or think as fast as you, but she is so much more like you, than different. She deserves respect. She deserves accepatance. She deserves to be included. She deserves the same kind of life that you feel your children deserve.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition where there are 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, instead of the typical 2 copies. This happens at conception and there is nothing that either parent did to cause this to happen and nothing that either parent could have done to prevent it from happening. Down syndrome is also the most commonly occurring genetic condition. It is true that the chances of having a child with Down syndrome increases with age, but the majority of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 30. Today, there are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome living in the United States.
Some important things to know about having a child with Down syndrome are that:
- Individuals with Down syndrome are more alike than different. They can do much of the same things that everyone else can do, they just do it at their own pace.
- Individuals with Down syndrome do not "suffer" from having Down syndrome. In fact, most individuals with Down syndrome report being very happy with their lives.
- Individuals with Down syndrome are being included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country, they are being employed for a variety of positions in the work field as adults, and they are very capable of having meaningful friendships and forming ongoing relationships with people.
- Down syndrome is not a "disease", so there is no cure for it. However, research on Down syndrome is making great strides in identifying the genes on the chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome, and hopefully in the future it will be possible to find a treatment to improve cognition, including learning, memory and speech for individuals with Down syndrome.
I believe that there are so many people in our society today that truly are uneducated. We grow up a certain way, around certain people, and that is truly all we know. People live their lives the only way they've known how to and you can't really blame a person for that. Which is why I feel it's my job to educate people about what they feel is harmless and all fun and jokes, isn't really funny. In fact, it's hurtful and disrespectful. Unless someone tells you that your words, or actions, aren't right, how are you supposed to know to change? But once you have been made aware of the fact that your words or actions are hurtful and disrespectful, and you continue to go on living the same way regardless, then I have a problem with that. That shows that you don't care about other people's feelings. You have no respect for anyone except yourself, and that isn't the kind of world I want to live in. And I definitely don't want my children growing up in a world where people refuse to change to better themselves and society as a whole. People are different and we need to accept that.
Have a Happy World Down Syndrome Day tomorrow, and show your support by wearing blue or yellow, the colors associated with Down syndrome awareness, or wear crazy mismatched socks, a campaign going on this year to raise awareness in communities all over in support of this big day. Most importantly, show respect, for everyone around you! The girls and I are celebrating big tomorrow and have lots of fun stuff going on! I'll be back later to share some pictures and tell you what we did to CELEBRATE!