World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) 2020: Current Theme, History and Facts
World Down Syndrome Day 2020: Theme
The theme of World Down Syndrome Day 2020 is “We Decide”. Down Syndrome International (DSi) every year announces the theme for WDSD. It represents a "call to action" for World Down Syndrome Day every year which is integrated with all the activities and events linked with WDSD. It also encourages people around the world to do the same. This year’s theme "We Decide" is inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that supports effective and meaningful participation as a core human right.
“All people with Down syndrome should have full participation in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives”. – Down Syndrome International
World Down Syndrome Day: History
The General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2011 declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day by passing the resolution A/RES/66/149. First World Down Syndrome Day was observed on 21 March. 2012. They felt necessary to raise awareness about Down syndrome disease. To observe the day, General Assembly invited all Member States, relevant organisations of the United Nations system and other international organisations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organisations and the private sector in a proper manner.
According to the UN, the estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births in the whole world. Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this disease each year. No doubt the quality of the life of the people suffering from Down syndrome can be improved by meeting their health care needs like regular check-ups with health professionals to monitor the physical and mental condition and provide timely intervention including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counselling, special education, etc.
Why WDSD is observed on 21st March?
World Down Syndrome Day is observed on the 21st day of the 3rd month because it was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
Why several events are organised on WDSD?
This year's theme itself focuses on the full participation of Down syndrome people in decision making about matters relating to or affecting their lives. In fact, effective and meaningful participation is the main principle of human rights supported by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The aim of the events:
- To show the overall effective and meaningful participation of Down syndrome persons that can be achieved through accessible information and communication, consultation.
- To empower persons with Down syndrome.
- Reach out to the key stakeholders like education, health, social professionals, media, etc to disseminate this message and bring about change.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21. It is a genetic disorder caused due to abnormal cell division that results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. It is nothing but an extra genetic material that causes several changes in the person including developmental changes, physical features.
Down syndrome severity varies from individual causing lifelong intellectual disability and developmental delays. Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder that causes learning disabilities in children. It also causes some other medical abnormalities like heart and gastrointestinal disorders.
A person suffering from Down syndrome can have mild, moderate or severe problems. Children and adults with Down syndrome have different facial features. Some of the common features are given below:
- Flattened face
- Small head
- Short neck
- Protruding tongue
- Upward slanting eyelids (palpebral fissures)
- Unusually shaped or small ears
- Poor muscle tone
- Broad, short hands with a single crease in the palm
- As compared to others short fingers and small hands and feet
- Excess of flexibility
- Tiny white spots on the coloured part (iris) of the eye called Brushfield's spots
- Short height
Therefore, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed on 21 March every year to raise awareness about the Down syndrome and with the help of several understandings, education, health care, medical professional, etc. Lives of the Down syndrome people can be better. Need is to spread awareness and it is possible when we come together and put efforts regarding it.