October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month – a chance to give individuals with Down syndrome a voice and an opportunity to share their stories.
“For many of us, every day is a chance to promote Down syndrome awareness—advocating for our children to be included in school and community activities, highlighting their talents, giving them opportunities to show just how much they have to share” (National Association for Down Syndrome).
Ways to promote awareness and get involved include the National Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk, a national program which raises awareness on a local level, or the NDSS My Great Story campaign where anyone who has something to share can submit stories as part of a collection from all over the nation.
On a local level, the Up with Downs Fall Conference in Fargo, ND introduces the needs of the child and experiences of families living with a child with Down syndrome. Pediatric Therapy Partners is a host for the Down Syndrome Playgroup, held on the second Sunday of each month from 3pm-5pm.
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, individuals with Down syndrome are becoming increasingly integrated into society and community organizations, such as school, health care systems, work forces, and social and recreational activities. More and more Americans are interacting with individuals with Down syndrome, increasing the need for widespread public education and acceptance.
As stated by the NDSS, “A person’s a person – instead of “a Down syndrome child,” say “a child with Down syndrome.”
Children with Down syndrome can often benefit from speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Pediatric Therapy Partners provides quality, coordinated home-based therapy services throughout the community as well as in our facility for special needs children and their families throughout the Red River Valley.
If you have any concerns regarding your child with Down syndrome, or any other child, please visit our website at www.pediatrictherapypartners.com and request a free screening.
About Down syndrome
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction), translocation and mosaicism. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm - although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.
Down syndrome Resources:
National Down Syndrome Society www.ndss.org
National Association for Down Syndrome www.nads.org
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development http://www.nichd.nih.gov/