World Down Syndrome DayMar 21, 2021 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
World Down Syndrome Day, the 21st of March, is a global awareness day that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The significance of this date is to represent the naturally occurring triplication or trisomy of the 21st chromosome which is the cause of Down Syndrome. World Down Syndrome Day lies in the middle of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
According to Pediatricians Nationwide, 6,000 babies are born with Down Syndrome in the US each year. While investigating 18,000 people with Down Syndrome in the United States from 1983-1087, Quanhe Yang, Ph.D. detected significant racial disparity in life expectancy. They reported a life expectancy of 50 years old for White people, 25 for Black people, and just 10 years for other races.
Down Syndrome has long been acknowledged throughout history and science, but Dr. John Langdon Down published the first scholarly work on the subject in the 1860s. However, It wasn’t until 1959 that French physician, Jérôme Lejeune, discovered that it was a chromosomal condition. Even with a scientific and medical understanding of Down Syndrome, cultural understanding is still a problem.
In recent years, some countries have proudly discussed the “eradication” of people with Down Syndrome, as if it were a disease, which it is not. Those with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often looked down upon and denied the same opportunities as others. Derogatory language like the R-word is often used to refer to people with disabilities, which is offensive and harmful.
Resources for those with Down Syndrome and their families are limited and often unknown to those who need them. In more recent years, the advocacy of people with Down Syndrome has grown significantly thanks to the use of modern media. Many organizations have popped up all over the country to aid in the treatment and opportunities for those with developmental disabilities, including Down Syndrome. These programs include education services, employment opportunities, medical resources, and peer programs.
Racial disparities in the disability community are also to be acknowledged. Where low-income areas happen to have more people of color, they also have underfunded schools, and resources, making it difficult to educate those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. These racial disparities also occur in the workplace, with people of color with disabilities having higher rates of unemployment.
If you are looking for more information on Down Syndrome, ways to advocate for the community, or resources to help yourself, friends, or loved ones, please visit the following sites. You can also reach out to your local representatives to discuss further legal action.
Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine.