Today marks the 2nd World Down Syndrome Day – a day celebrated to raise positive awareness about this often misunderstood disability, and to provide welcoming information about raising a special needs child.
Indeed, with their mischievous and joyful faces, individuals with Down Syndrome witness to all of us that happiness of indeed possible for themselves and their families. Surely they deserve the same dignity and respect as any other person?
The future of Down Syndrome…
Down Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome – with approximately 1 child in 700 births born with Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, the correlation between early prenatal screening and abortion of disabled children threatens to wipe out Down Syndrome. In fact, it’s predicted that the last Down Syndrome baby in Demark could be born in 2030 – with more than 90% of all foetuses dignosed with Down Syndrome being aborted.
There is also a lack of positive information and support for new parents discovering their child has Down Syndrome. As http://www.downsyndrome-sowhat.eu/ says:
Many countries still a lack comprehensive health policy requiring that families who receive an unexpected prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome be provided with information about positive therapeutic developments and outcomes for those living with Down syndrome. In addition, the efforts undertaken to facilitate integration of persons living with Down syndrome into educational systems and work places are clearly insufficient.
In New Zealand, Saving Downs has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over views expressed in the recent publication of a paper in the New Zealand Medical Journal that promotes eugenics against the Down Syndrome community. The paper presented the case under the justification of ‘doing the most good’ due to the ‘perceived disadvantages’ of the life of a child with Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome…so what?
Saving Downs has also joined together with organisations from 11 other nations to create an international awareness campaign: Down Syndrome…so what?
The goal of this campaign is to lessen the fear of those in society who are uncomfortable with the disabled, showcasing 5 people with Down syndrome from diverse ages, national and cultural backgrounds. You can find out more about this campaign here.
Show your support!
Here are a number of ways you can help raise the profile of people with Down Syndrome – and promote their right to be included in New Zealand community:
- Watch and Share the 2013 WDSD Global Video Event “Let us In – I want to Work!” This video was made in partnership with 62 countries for World Down Syndrome Day 2013.
- Join the campaign to wear “Lots of Socks” on 21 March to raise awareness worldwide.
- Show your support for the second annual Lion Charity ride in support of NZ Down Syndrome Association. This year’s ride will be a four day event from 20-23 March 2013, with 10 riders and two support crew.
- Take part in the Wellington Down Syndrome day family fun walk. When: 10am, Sunday 24 March 2013. Where: Events Stage, Avalon Park, Taita Drive, Lower Hutt.
- Join the EveryDay Hero New Zealand: Buddy Walk 2013. On Sunday 24 March, hundreds of people will gather in Tahaki reserve in Mt Eden to participate in Auckland Down Syndrome Association’s 8th annual Buddy Walk -promoting acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome.
- Find out about other WDSD events on the WDSD Website events page.
- Read and Share the worthy awardees of the 2013 WDSD Awards.
- Follow the below organisations on Facebook:
WDSD on Facebook > http://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Down-Syndrome-Day/148478055264021
Saving Down Syndrome NZ > https://www.facebook.com/savingdowns
New Zealand Down Syndrome Association > https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Zealand-Down-Syndrome-Association
“When you focus on someone’s disability you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.”
― Yvonne Pierre