Celebrating Down Syndrome

In honor of Down Syndrome awareness month I would like to dedicate today’s post to a little bit of education.  This is a list of 21 things I think you should know about Down syndrome.

rachel w  first purse age2

  1. Each individual with Down syndrome is unique.   
  2. Individuals with Down syndrome are not always happy. Many have a sweet disposition but they have the same range of feelings (glad, mad, sad, happy) as individuals who do not have Down syndrome.
  3. A 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome causes Down syndrome. 
  4. The medical name for Down syndrome is Trisomy.
  5. Down syndrome was given the name “Down” syndrome because Dr. Langdon Down was one of the first researchers to describe the genetic condition.
  6. In the United States the correct term for Down syndrome is Down with a capital D and syndrome with a lower case s.  The D is capitalized because it is named after the person Dr. Down and that is his proper name.  It is not possessive “Down’s syndrome.”
  7. A person is a person first and has Down syndrome second. Therefore, you never call someone a Down’s child, Down’s person, etc.
  8. Down syndrome occurs at conception.
  9. Individuals with Down syndrome did nothing to cause their Down syndrome nor did their parents or any other family members.
  10. You cannot catch Down syndrome. It is not a disease like the common cold.
  11. Individuals born with Down syndrome vary in their abilities and related medical issues.
  12. Almost 50 percent of babies born with Down syndrome will have some type of heart issues.  These issues range from very serious requiring surgery to issues that self-correct.
  13. Another common characteristic of babies with Down syndrome is lower muscle tone.  This may cause them to take longer to sit up, crawl, or walk and may cause them to tire more easily.
  14. Many if not most individuals with Down syndrome want to have friends and do the same kinds of things that other children/adults their age want to do.
  15. With proper supports individuals with Down syndrome can and should be included in general education classrooms and extra-curricular activities such as dance, soccer, karate, cheerleading and acting.happy cheer2
  16. Many individuals with Down syndrome are getting married.  Like the rest of the population, some do get divorced.
  17. Individuals with Down syndrome are living independently while others live independently with supports.  Some even own their own homes.
  18. It is outdated and disrespectful to say someone with Down syndrome is the “R-word.”  The preferred language is that a person with Down syndrome has an intellectual disability.
  19. Many individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are going to college.
  20. Individuals with Down syndrome have the same rights as all other people. They have dreams, goals and aspirations.  They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just like everyone else.
  21. It would be great if you would get to know someone with Down syndrome!

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“Please do not prejudge the limits of our abilities, just because we happen to have a disABILITY. We need your help, encouragement and friendship to become accepted and respected contributing members of our community.” – Annie Forts, self-advocate.

NOTE: This is a modified version of a previous SassySouthernGal blog. Worth a repeat I thought!

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  1. I love the quote from Annie Forts at the end. I LOVE that she underlined ABILITY. I do not like to refer to anyone as having a disability. I have learned so much about Ds in the last 2 1/2 years, and the most important lesson I have learned is that people with Ds are determined. Many people with Ds have accomplished more than I could ever hope to. I will NEVER understand how a person overcoming challenges could be considered disabled, when they are in my mind OVERACHIEVERS! I will continue to focus on my son’s abilities. It has been determined on several occasions that Max does NOT have special needs, and yet, because of he has Ds, it is assumed by many that he does. I completely understand that some things take him longer, but the fact that he is doing a lot more than most of his “typical” peers, tells me practice makes perfect. I pray no parents “give up” on their children just because a doctor tells them their child will probably never walk and talk. (You don’t know how bad I would love to send videos of Max singing his ABC’s and identifying all of his letters at 27 mos. to the pediatrician who told us we would only be able to love him.)God does NOT make mistakes.

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