March 21 marked the official World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). The World Down Syndrome Day is a day people with Down syndrome and those who live and work with them through out the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the right inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome is not an illness or disease. It is a genetic condition.
Our bodies are made up of millions of cells. In each cell there are 46 chromosomes. The DNA in our chromosomes determines how we develop. Down syndrome is caused when there is an extra chromosome. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46. They have an extra chromosome 21, which is why Down syndrome is also sometimes known as trisomy 21.
Although we know how Down syndrome occurs, we do not yet know why it happens. Down syndrome occurs at conception, across all ethnic and social groups and to parents of all ages. It is nobody’s fault. There is no cure and it does not go away.
Down syndrome is the most common chromosome disorder that we know of. One of every 700-900 babies born worldwide will have Down syndrome, it is not a new condition. People with Down syndrome have been recorded throughout history.
A test for Down syndrome can be carried out before a baby is born. Down syndrome is usually recognised at birth and is confirmed by a blood test. It was named after Dr. John Langdon Down who first described it.
Most of the young people growing up with Down syndrome today will lead quite ordinary lives in the community. Some people with Down syndrome may not need much help to lead an ordinary life, while others may require a lot of support.