Monday, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day – do you know someone with Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21 and occurs by random chance. People with Down syndrome usually have delayed physical growth, characteristic facial features and a mild intellectual disability. The syndrome was named after John Landon Down, a British doctor who fully described the syndrome in 1866.
Individuals with Down syndrome are people first and should be able to enjoy full and equal rights, both as children and adults. This includes the opportunity to participate fully in their communities, but the reality for many is that prevailing negative attitudes result in low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, creating communities where children and adults with Down syndrome cannot integrate successfully with their peers.
Wouldn’t it be great if our community was a place where people living with Down syndrome were able to live, work and participate, with confidence and individual autonomy, fully included in society alongside their friends and peers? This is a dream of L’Arche Como Valley and its I Belong Centre.
You can recognize World Down Syndrome Day by encouraging adults or children you know with Down syndrome and by engaging others in the discussion about what it means to be truly inclusive – at work, on the playing field, in our social lives. For more information, you can visit worlddownsyndromeday.org or reach out and support the I Belong! campaign.