‘Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored’ – World Down Syndrome Day 2015

If I’m truly honest, just over 2 and a half years ago, before I had Oscar, I wanted to be someone that treated people with additional needs just the same as I would treat the next person. But the truth? I felt uncomfortable. I felt especially uncomfortable around their parents. I didn’t understand how they could possibly be ok with having a child with additional needs. I’ve talked about it before but how could they not be sad, when their lives were surely a bit…well, rubbish now? Looking back I realise it wasn’t just ignorance on my part, more about my lack of education on the matter. Now that my eyes have been well and truly opened to a whole new world, I realise I needn’t have felt that way. Sure, it might be a slightly different world, but it’s a still a happy world. You see, parents of a child with DS aren’t asking you not to see a difference. We’re just asking you to give our children a chance because we now know there is much much more to them than we would have first believed. Our children are individuals. They excel in different areas just as the next person does. 

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World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD15) is celebrated on 21st March every year (21/03) representing 3 copies of the 21st chromosome present in those that have DS. John Langdon Down first described what he though DS was in 1866.

Having DS is just a small part of the person, but it certainly doesn’t define them.

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Did you know?
People with Down Syndrome…
Are living in their communities with some support
Are often fully included in school with their typical peers
Are going to college more frequently
Are employed as artists, actors, child care workers… Not just your local Sainsburys Supermarket as so many people like to reassure me ;0)
Yes, people with DS are often “happy” but they also, like you and I, experience a whole host of other emotions and feelings. People with Down Syndrome enjoy healthy relationships and some get married.
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Myth: Down Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.
Truth: Down Syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. One in every 691 live births is a child with Down Syndrome and there are more than 4 million people with DS world wide. Not so rare after all hey!
Myth: All individuals with Down Syndrome will have severe developmental or intellectual delays.
Truth: Most people with Down Syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate. IQ is not an adequate measure of the functional status of people with Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome have great potential when given the opportunity to succeed.
Myth: Individuals born with Down Syndrome do not experience full or productive lives.
Truth: Individuals with Down Syndrome live at home with their families, in group homes or in homes of their own. They are integrated into the regular education system and are active participants in the vocational, social and recreational activities of the community. Many individuals will go to college, work and lead meaningful lives.

 

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We have high hopes for Oscar and we will help him achieve anything he sets his mind too. We’re realists in that we know the road ahead may be a bit of a bumpy one, but hey, who ever said they wanted to lead a boring, mundane life? Oscar has already taught me so much in his two years of life. I’ve said it before but I should never underestimate him, as he surprises me every day. I love seeing how family and friends of mine have changed THEIR preconceptions and how, knowing and loving a child with DS now has only enriched their lives more than they could have imagined. He truly touches people in a way I didn’t think possible.

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So what are my hopes for World Down Syndrome Day 2105? To ask people to be a little bit more understanding, a little more accepting and like me back then, remember that life truly isn’t sad or rubbish, it’s just the beginning of an exciting new chapter for us.

Down Syndrome International invites everyone across the world to wear LOTS OF SOCKS on 21 March 2015 to raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). If you do, it’d be amazing if you could spare just a £1 by texting SOCK57 £1 to 70070

Thank You x

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