21 March is World Down Syndrome Day

In Australia, there are more than 13,000 people living with Down Syndrome, doing some pretty amazing things.

People with Down Syndrome are born with 47 chromosomes in their cells, instead of the more typical 46. The presence of the additional chromosome, Trisomy 21, can lead to people sharing some commonalities; including physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and a higher chance of having an intellectual disability. Down Syndrome is seen across cultures and communities; first described by English physician John Langdon Down in 1862, with further historical pieces of art believed to portray Down Syndrome, found as far back as AD 500 from South America and the 16th-century painting ‘The Adoration of the Christ Child’.

Biology and history aside, how do we account for the diversity of people’s experiences? That’s what World Down Syndrome Day is all about. People with Down Syndrome are very different from each other, just as we are all different. Every person with Down Syndrome is unique, with their own talents, abilities, thoughts and interests. And, like everyone else, people with Down Syndrome have strengths and weaknesses.

In the context of World Down Syndrome Day, we celebrate the uniqueness of each person with Down Syndrome and the pursuit of more choice and control in their lives, activities and supports. It doesn’t take much to see some fantastic stories of people living with Down Syndrome, from love, community connection and lives well lived.

If you’re looking for more information, have a look at the Down Syndrome Australia website, the national platform for advocacy and information for parents, professionals and community members.

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