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20 Truths Everyone Needs to Understand About Down Syndrome

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you. We’re here to say it should.

If you have Down syndrome or a loved one with Down syndrome, it’s a month to spread awareness and promote acceptance. If Down syndrome doesn’t affect you in any way, it’s a chance to get educated. That’s where we come in. We asked our Mighty fans on Facebook, whose lives are touched by Down syndrome, what they wish others understood about the genetic condition.

Their answers moved us — and taught us a few things, too. Take a look:

1. “Down syndrome isn’t a bad thing. My son having Down syndrome is now the shining point in my life.” — Caleigh Crow

2. Children with Down syndrome are just like any other child in almost every way.” — Carol D.

3. “Down syndrome is classified as having a disorder, but our family genuinely views it as an enhancement in our lives.” — Joy P.

4. “My daughter is a little girl who really is no different than any other little girl her age. She just rocks and extra chromosome!” — Debbie F.

5. “Down syndrome isn’t a burden. How people react to it is.” — Stephanie H.

6. “Stop referring to my daughter as a ‘Downs baby.’ She’s my beautiful daughter.” — Krystalynn K.

7. “One does not ‘suffer’ from Down syndrome.” — Shelli B.

8. “Down syndrome is wonderful. Having an intellectual disability doesn’t mean one is stupid.” — Richard D.

9. “Everyone should see the potential of people with Down syndrome, not the limitations.” — Kelly O.

10. “People who have Down syndrome have one thing in common: they have Down syndrome. Apart from that they are individuals.” — Lyn D.

11. “People with Down syndrome are not always happy.” — Jane G.

12. My son with Down syndrome understands more than he lets on. He understands he’s being excluded from parties and that less kids want to hang out with him. I wish people would talk to him in front of him. He’s a person with feelings, all feelings, and I wish he was treated like he has as much value as everyone else.” — Frankie D.

13. “My quality of life has improved 100 percent with the privilege of being the mummy to a daughter with Down syndrome.” — Nic B.

14. “All children with Down syndrome are capable of achieving whatever they want in life, no matter what.” — Jacqui H.

15. People with Down syndrome can teach and show you so much.” — Jeanne J.

16. So many people feel that a diagnosis of Down syndrome is something to be sad about, but it’s not. I only wish the whole world could understand how amazing life can be for those with Down syndrome and those who surround them.” — Cat C.

17. “Down syndrome doesn’t mean that my son (or any individual with Down syndrome) can’t be an equal participant in our community.” — Jen F.

18. “Down syndrome is not something to mourn.” — Andrea W.

19. “People with Down syndrome aren’t all stereotypical always-happy-and-docile little people everyone believes they are.” — Darlene W.

20. “People with Down syndrome are people first. Because sometimes Down syndrome may be the first thing you see or notice, it’s easy to miss that. People with Down syndrome have hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, get happy and sad. They’re just like everyone else but with one extra chromosome.” — Josh T.