World Down Syndrome Day 2023: The General Assembly declared March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day in December 2011. The day spread awareness and support for those living with the disease Down Syndrome. It is an initiative taken around the world. Down Syndrome International linked up with several national charities across the world to generate activities and events to spread awareness and provide support to patients suffering from Down syndrome. It also helps people understand the reason behind the disease, its symptoms, and treatment.
Today, we celebrate the unique abilities and contributions of people with Down Syndrome. Let's promote their inclusion, advocate for their rights, and create a world that values diversity. Happy World Down Syndrome Day!#SyndromeDay #WDSD2023 #InclusionMatters pic.twitter.com/o30Go8BZBz
World Down Syndrome Day helps educate the public on what down syndrome is and how to encourage those with down syndrome to participate in daily activities so they can live a full life and play a vital role in their community. pic.twitter.com/fnSAN1Phvj — Government of Punjab (@PunjabGovtIndia) March 21, 2023
Powerful speech from Claire at the World Down Syndrome Day event this morning. I heard from her and other attendees about the importance of inclusion in employment, education and more - and how diversity makes all of us stronger. pic.twitter.com/h1cpppEQLq
World Down Syndrome Day 2023: Theme
The theme for the 12th World Down Syndrome Day is ‘With Us, Not For Us’. And the message is that people with disabilities have the same rights to equal treatment and opportunity as everyone else. According to UN Organizations, the Down Syndrome International network is campaigning for the right to legal capacity, supported decision-making, and easy-to-understand communication.
And to achieve that it invites self-advocates, supporters, government and UN officials, and NGO representatives to share knowledge, experience, and good practice from countries around the world at the 12th WDSD Conference.
The theme of World Down Syndrome Day 2022 is '#InclusionMeans'.
The theme of World Down Syndrome Day 2020 was “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. Theme "We Decide" is inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which 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 March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day by passing resolution A/RES/66/149. The first World Down Syndrome Day was observed on March 21, 2012. They felt it was necessary to raise awareness about Down syndrome disease. To observe the day, the 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 and 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 life of people suffering from Down syndrome can be improved by meeting their health care needs, like regular check-ups with health professionals to monitor their physical and mental condition and provide timely intervention, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling, special education, etc.
Why is WDSD 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 are several events organized on WDSD?
The various events are organized across the world to advocate for full inclusion in society for people with Down syndrome and for everyone else.
- To show the overall effective and meaningful participation of Down syndrome persons that can be achieved through accessible information and communication, and consultation.
- To empower persons with Down syndrome.
- Reach out to 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. An extra genetic material causes several changes in the person including developmental changes, physical features, etc.
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
As a result, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed every year on March 21 to raise awareness about Down syndrome through a variety of means, including education, health care, medical professionals, and so on. The need is to spread awareness, and it is possible when we come together and put effort into it.