World Down Syndrome Day: Celebrating diversity

credit Lauren Shears

Every year, World Down Syndrome Day takes place to raise awareness about Down’s syndrome, and promote opportunities for people living with the condition. This year’s theme is We Decide – how will you be celebrating?

Down’s syndrome is a condition caused by the presence of three copies of the genes in chromosome 21, rather than two. For this reason,World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is celebrated on 21 March – the 21st day of the third month – to demonstrate the uniqueness of that 21st chromosome that causes the condition.

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on 21 March

INDEPENDENT

The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) is just one charity supporting people with the condition and their families, to live independent lives, and meet others.

Through sport, art, drama and various clubs, the charity offers the chance to get active and make new friends, as well as opportunities for longterm employment.

Vinay has Down’s syndrome and works for the DSA’s information team. He has worked for the charity for over 20 years and enjoys taking part in the DSActive summer camps, as well as raising awareness of Down’s syndrome.

“It is good for me to be a part of [the charity], and interesting for me to give a voice to people with Down’s syndrome,” enthuses Vinay. “We talked about human rights at a conference in January and I really enjoyed talking about that and making notes. I like giving presentations and giving my views as someone with Down’s syndrome.”

SOCIAL

The DSActive summer camps give Vinay and others the chance to get active and socialise, whilst ensuring that the opportunity to take part in adrenaline-fuelled sports and fun physical activity is accessible to everyone.

“The summer camp is really good for people with Down’s syndrome,” Vinay continues.

“They have games and interesting things like tennis, hockey and rounders. I did the javelin for the first time, I haven’t done it before and it was really fun.

“I’d never been to a summer camp before so it was interesting for me. For myself, as a person with Down’s syndrome, I was really happy to show my skills.”

CELEBRATE

The theme of WDSD this year is We Decide, which supports the effective and meaningful participation of people with Down’s syndrome as a key human right. It also celebrates the empowerment of people with Down’s syndrome to have a voice and a say in decision making surrounding their own lives.

“I think to celebrate is a really good thing,” enthuses Vinay. “It helps to make people like me feel more included. The DSA has lots of flyers and posters and I like showing everyone people like me. I think it is important for people like me to make our own choices. I like making my own decisions.”

How will you be celebrating World Down Syndrome Day? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram.