If you are around the Down syndrome community, then I’m sure you know World Down Syndrome Day is quickly approaching on March 21st (3/21). I don’t think I follow a single social media account associated with Down syndrome that hasn’t mentioned World Down Syndrome Day; it’s kind of a big deal in our community, but why?
Everyone has different reasons for loving World Down Syndrome Day, but here are my top five.
It raises awareness. Looking back now, I can’t believe I lived 26 years in this world being so incredibly ignorant of Down syndrome. Approximately one out of every 700 babies born in the United States are born with Down syndrome. I have met so many amazing people, and seem to meet a new person constantly who shares their story about their relative with Down syndrome. It goes to show, when you’re not reminded of something, it goes unnoticed most of the time. Setting aside a day is a reminder that people with Down syndrome are a part of this world, not living separately, but integrated into it; making it better, and contributing to it.
It’s a reminder that Down syndrome should be celebrated. I know I talk about this a lot, it’s prominently displayed on my home page, but I’m not alone in believing Down syndrome is something to be celebrated. I have never met a person with a child, sister, brother, or other relative with Down syndrome who disagrees that it is a wonderful gift to be cherished. With so many attacks on Down syndrome, either by abortion activists who believe mothers should be able to kill their unborn children just for having an extra chromosome, comedians who believe it’s something to be made fun of, or many in the general population who think it’s a burden on society, it is vital we take time to remind people Down syndrome is a good thing. Those of us who have spent quality time with someone with Down syndrome understand it is not a burden, but a gift given to a lucky and blessed few.
It raises money for important organizations. I have seen several posts about World Down Syndrome Day runs and walks all over the country. We are participating in ours here in Cincinnati. The proceeds from a lot of these events go to local Down syndrome organizations. These organizations are so important to new and seasoned parents alike. Our local Down syndrome organization was the first place we called after receiving both of our prenatal diagnoses. They made us feel so much better about the news we had received, and sent us an amazing welcome packet. They also have classes and events for those who already have kids with Down syndrome. For these reasons, and many others, it is so important to fund local Down syndrome organizations.
It’s a chance to connect with other parents. With so many events, and so many people talking about it, World Down Syndrome Day is a great way to connect with other parents of children with Down Syndrome. Having a child with special needs can feel isolating, which makes connecting with other parents who truly understand essential. Whether it’s starting a conversation through commenting on a blog or social media post, or going to an event and meeting in person, there are so many opportunities to connect because of the attention World Down Syndrome Day receives.
It starts a conversation. Whether you wear blue and yellow, don a “lucky few” T-shirt, write a blog post, share a picture on Instagram, or update your status on Facebook, every mention of World Down Syndrome Day is a chance to start a conversation with someone who may not know anything about Down syndrome. It’s a chance to share how much you love the person you know with Down syndrome, to show how valuable they are to you and your family. It’s a chance to let others know that you chose life for your child after receiving a prenatal diagnosis. It’s a chance to share how you pressed on and adjusted to your new normal after receiving a birth diagnosis. Whatever your situation may be, World Down Syndrome Day gives you that extra chance to show just how EXTRA special the person you know with Down syndrome is.