Wednesday, March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). In honor of this day, we want to contribute to the already growing awareness of this community.
WDSD was first observed in 2006 in several countries all over the world. On December 19th, 2011, United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day. This date was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
Having Down syndrome does not mean that a person’s quality of life has to be any different than to those who do not have downs. Here at Humanus, we fully support the #notspecialneeds movement to help encourage others to stop treating those with Downs like they should be catered to in an overprotected, sympathetic or alienated manner. Phrases like “disability” and “special needs” are actually viewed as counter-productive. Even though it’s often unintentional, it can be perceived as disrespectful because it makes others feel like they can’t have a “normal” life. That is the reason this movement was established; to express how people with Downs want and deserve to be treated. We are all equal and we all have the same needs; compassion, education, employment, and respect.
So, what should we say? If you are discussing someone specific, call them by their NAME and then their condition if needed. Human needs always come first so follow the golden rule and treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Along with attending your local events to celebrate this special day, Down Syndrome International encourages you to show your support through social media to help spread the word and end the stigma. This can be done by liking, sharing, mentioning, posting and tweeting using the hashtag #WDSD18.
Sources: https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/about-wdsd, https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/wdsd-2017, and https://g.co/kgs/mQ3K0v, http://www.notspecialneeds.com/