National Down Syndrome Awareness month is all October long and is an amazing opportunity to shine a light on individuals who have down syndrome. This month is a great time to spread awareness as well as advocacy and inclusion for men, women, and children with down syndrome as well as appreciate their individual abilities and accomplishments. People often underestimate individuals with down syndrome and assume that they can’t accomplish as much because of the disability but that has been proven wrong time and time again.
Down syndrome is the number one chromosomal condition. Approximately 1 in 691 babies in the United States is born with down syndrome which accounts to about six thousand per year. Overall, there are an approximate four hundred thousand people living with down syndrome in the United States today. The chances of having a baby with down syndrome increases with maternal age. That being said, eight percent of babies born with down syndrome are born to a mother under thirty-five because of increased fertility at that point in life. Individuals with down syndrome have a higher susceptibility to certain medical conditions. These include Alzheimer’s, congenital heart defects, childhood leukemia, respiratory and hearing problems, and thyroid conditions. Though this is scary and something that they have to live with, most of these conditions are treatable.
If you are living with down syndrome, you can speak up and tell your story. This may help countless people to have the courage it takes to speak up themselves. If someone you love is living with down syndrome you can do the same and help by becoming a support for other families. There are also programs that you can get involved with to support this cause. One in particular is the Buddy Walk where you can show your support and raise awareness all at the same time. You can also speak out using social media as a platform to get the word out about this month and what it stands for. We can all do our part to close the gap.