October was first designated as Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the 1980s and has been recognized every October since. It is a time to celebrate people with Down syndrome and make others aware of their abilities and accomplishments.
The Arkansas Down Syndrome Association (ADSA) created a slideshow on their website with 31 "things to know" about Down Syndrome. The idea is to make others more aware of Down Syndrome - its history and those who are impacted by it. Click here to download the slideshow. Here is the full list of helpful tips and informational facts:
- Down Syndrome is named after a British doctor, Dr. John Langdon Down, who fully described the syndrome in 1866.
- Down Syndrome occurs when a person has an extra copy (3 copies) of the 21st chromosome.
- Approximately one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down Syndrome.
- Artist Rachel Handlin was the first ever photographer with Down Syndrome to attend the California Institute of Art.
- Down Syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal disorder in the U.S.
- Down Syndrome has nothing to do with race, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status or anything the mother or father did during pregnancy - it happens randomly at conception.
- Life expectancy for people with Down Syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 years in 1983 to 60+ years.
- Raymond Hu is a Chinese-American artist with Down Syndrome.
- Low muscle tone is common in individuals with Down Syndrome, and can affect posture, breathing, eating and speech.
- People with Down Syndrome have increased risk for heart conditions at birth, hearing and vision loss, respiratory problems, childhood leukemia, thyroid conditions and Alzheimer's.
- Sujeet Desai is an artist with Down Syndrome. Sujeet plays seven instruments: Bb and bass clarinet, alto saxophone, violin, trumpet, piano and drums.
- Instead of saying "a Down's child," say "a child with Down's Syndrome." This is called person-first language. Speak about the person before the diagnosis.
- People with Down Syndrome are not all the same. We are all individuals, regardless of how many chromosomes we have.
- John Lee Cronin, entrepreneur and founder of the multi-million dollar John's Crazy Socks.
- People with Down Syndrome have creative thoughts, ideas, and jobs; they enjoy and need meaningful conversations and relationships - just like people without Down Syndrome.
- The 21st of March was officially declared World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011.
- March 21 (3/21) was selected to signify the uniqueness of triplication (3) of the 21st chromosome that causes Down Syndrome.
- President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution in 1984 declaring October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month (Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers was a co-sponsor on the resolution).
- Zack Gottsagen is an American actor with Down Syndrome.
- 80% of babies with Down Syndrome are born to women younger than 35 years of age.
- There's no such thing as "mild" or "severe" Down Syndrome; you either have Down Syndrome or you don't.
- John Kelting is an American artist with Down Syndrome.
- Occupational, physical and speech therapies are used to promote the greatest possible development of the independence and productivity in individuals with Down Syndrome.
- Some common physical traits of Down Syndrome include: smaller bridge of the nose, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.
- Chelsea Werner is a four-time US Special Olympics national gymnastics champion.
- Individuals with Down Syndrome are not "always happy;" they have a full range of emotions.
- Dylan Kuehl is another famous artist with Down Syndrome.
Arkansas Down Syndrome Association (ADSA) was incorporated in 2004 and is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. ADSA is dedicated to advocating for healthy, inclusive, and productive lives for people with Down syndrome (DS). We serve our DS community by providing free events and services for families across Arkansas—as well as sponsor awareness and educational materials for schools and communities. We are an all-volunteer organization guided by a diverse board of directors made up of medical professionals, members of our local business community and parents of children with DS. Our website, www.ardownsyndrome.org, is the largest and most comprehensive of Arkansas-based websites for families with DS—and includes valuable advocacy, educational, legal, medical, and tax resources.