World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day Quick Facts - CA

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Related Hashtags#DownSyndrome, #EndTheStereotypes
2024 DateMarch 21, 2024
2025 DateMarch 21, 2025

World Down Syndrome Day

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World Down Syndrome Day History

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is dedicated to raising public awareness about Down syndrome and promoting the inherent rights, inclusion, and well-being of people with this genetic disorder. This UN-backed day aims to dispel myths, prejudices, and misconceptions surrounding Down syndrome and honours the resilience, strength, and potential of those living with the condition. Additionally, the occasion lends itself to celebrating advancements in medical research and recognizing individuals or groups who contribute meaningfully towards supporting people with Down syndrome and their families.

The call for World Down Syndrome Day emerged from the Down Syndrome International organization and gained official recognition from the United Nations in 2011. For Canadians, WDSD holds particular significance as it allows an opportunity to reflect on the country's progressive stance on inclusivity and equal opportunities for all its citizens, irrespective of any disability. Notable in Canada's history is the landmark Supreme Court case in 2012, where the rights of a girl with Down Syndrome were upheld, and she was allowed to attend her local school, a decision influencing the country's approach to special educational needs.

In Canada, the observance of World Down Syndrome Day varies across the nation and may involve awareness campaigns, educational seminars, community events, fundraisers, and media coverage focusing on Down syndrome. These initiatives foster greater social integration and well-informed public opinion about Down syndrome. For example, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society implements various educational resources and hosts numerous events to support and advocate for those who live with Down syndrome. These activities culminate on March 21st, symbolizing the triplication of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Facts about World Down Syndrome Day

  • The theme for World Down Syndrome Day in 2024 was End The Stereotypes. The theme in 2023 was With Us Not For Us.
  • According to the U.N, those with Down syndrome can achieve an optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community based support systems. By being inclusive such as with education, those with Down syndrome can have greater participation in mainstream society.
  • CDSS is also behind the "See the Ability" campaign which seeks to shift the perspective from disability to ability, encouraging people to see the potential and contributions of individuals with Down syndrome.
  • Individuals with Down Syndrome are entitled to human rights protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This protection advocates for equal opportunities for all Canadians, regardless of disability.

Top things to do in Canada for World Down Syndrome Day

  • Learn more about Down syndrome in the short film Chromosomes R Us.
  • Join the Buddy Walk: Typically organized by local Down Syndrome support organizations, the walk aims to celebrate people with Down syndrome and promote acceptance and inclusion.
  • Read a book to learn more about Down Syndrome:
    The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles - by Joan Guthrie Medlen.
    Down Syndrome: A New Parents Guide - by Siegfried M. Pueschel.

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