Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socioeconomic lines in approximately 1 in 800 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues. (Source – Down Syndrome International)
“Chromosomes R Us” is a short film by actors with Down syndrome explaining how Trisomy 21 occurs. Made by Shabang Inclusive Learning in collaboration with Mediapreview, Huddersfield, UK, this film was made possible by generous funding by BBC Children in Need.
World Down Syndrome Day and Awareness Week 2022
World Down Syndrome Day is part of the United Nations calendar of events. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
The United Nations are calling for “full and effective participation and inclusion in society” and are striving to celebrate the lives of people with Down Syndrome, raise awareness of Down Syndrome and promote inclusion so that people with Down Syndrome have the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.
For World Down Syndrome Day 2022 they want to start a global conversation which will empower people around the world to advocate for full inclusion in society for people with Down syndrome and for everyone. They want to hear from you, ‘Inclusion Means…‘
… that people with Down syndrome and disabilities do not benefit from full and effective participation and inclusion in society.
Why is this?
Many reasons. But one reason is a lack of agreed understanding about what inclusion is and what inclusive systems look like in practice.
They have created a set of resources which will help you to advocate for inclusion – whether its at school, your work place, in media or in public life. Download their easy read theme guide; useful for anyone who wants to join their #InclusionMeans campaign and create messages.
The best way to promote awareness of Down syndrome is for people with Down syndrome to share their own stories in their own words. They would love to hear from you if you have a story that you would like to share with the world – www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/stories.
One of the ways you can mark World Down Syndrome Day is by wearing lots of socks.
#LotsOfSocks is also one of the social media hashtags for the day. The idea is that you should get as many people as possible to wear the most colourful and funky socks possible. (The Down’s Syndrome Association sell some especially snazzy numbers created specifically for the day on their
website for £4.00 – but any brightly coloured mismatched pair of socks will do!)
21 Day Challenge from 2021’s campaign
Last year Down Syndrome International set a 21 day challenge. The idea was that from the 1st to the 21st of March you or your school set a fundraising challenge.
Perhaps use their challenge ideas for 2022:
Get active with a run, walk, cycle or skip every day for 21 days.
Get cooking by trying out a new recipe every day for 21 days.
Get flexible by trying a new yoga position each day for 21 days.
Get busy by completing a household chore, helping around school, tidying up the local area each day for 21 days.
Gain muscles by doing either press-ups, crunches, burpees etc. Start day 1 by doing one rep and add one every day until you can do 21.
Get dancing by having a 21-minute dance session every day for 21 days and throw down some shapes to raise awareness and money.
Having fun and raising money are important aspects of the day but raising awareness and improving inclusion for learners with Down Syndrome are of course at the heart of it all. Last year Down Syndrome International published the International Guidelines for the Education of Learners with Down Syndrome which provides a huge amount of information about how education institutions can meet the needs of learners with Down Syndrome. If you have any learners with Down Syndrome in your setting and want more information it’s certainly a great place to start!