21 Things Everyone Should Know About People With Down Syndrome
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Since 38 percent of Americans know someone who has Down syndrome, I thought it would be beneficial to spread some awareness about these people who make up so much of our population. Without further adieu, here are 21 things everyone should know about people with Down Syndrome.
1. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and races. They don’t all look like the actors you see on TV!
2. They can go to school from preschool age all the way up to their mid-20s. If they want, they can even go back to school once they’re older.
3. Once out of school, they can get jobs based on their skills and qualifications.
4. Many can go shopping and provide for themselves.
5. They can socialize well with others and often have friends in school, at work, and in their day-to-day lives.
6. Many can take driver’s training and maintain a driver’s license.
7. Some individuals enjoy watching TV for hours on end.
8. Some individuals could spend an entire day running around outside, playing sports or just basking in the sun.
9. At the proper age, they can drink alcohol.
10. They are liable to get the stomach flu and a common cold from time to time.
11. Some individuals are social butterflies, always wanting to be the center of attention or the class clown.
12. Some individuals are quiet, and more content observing conversations than being a part of them.
13. They can have many hobbies, like photography, drawing, and writing.
14. They can go on to have a wide range of successful careers, such as acting, singing, teaching, and so much more.
15. Some individuals can carry on lengthy conversations about a multitude of topics.
16. Some individuals are more keen on listening than talking.
17. They can have many emotions, including joy, fear, sadness or anger.
18. Provided they aren’t allergic, they can have and take care of pets.
19. They can have boyfriends or girlfriends, husbands, wives, and children.
20. They can live long and happy lives surrounded by their loving families.
21. Genetically speaking, they have all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21, hence World Down Syndrome Day occurring on March 21 (3/21).
If you look over this list, you may notice something. These facts aren’t unique to people with Down syndrome. In fact, we can all relate to the first 20 things mentioned on the list. The only difference is that extra bit of chromosome 21. That’s all. While that genetic difference affects some cognitive processing and physical features, they live the same lives. They have families and friends, schools and jobs, and a wide range of hobbies and emotions and characteristics. To sum it up, they’re just like everyone else.
So, on World Down Syndrome Day, I think this is something important to keep in mind. By all means, let’s celebrate people with Down syndrome! Let’s show them we know how awesome they are. But, let’s also remember to do that every other day of the year. Treat them like you would treat anybody else. Remind them that they’re just as awesome as the kids they sit next to in class or the coworkers they chat with around the water cooler.
Let’s use March 21 as an opportunity to let the world know that people with Down syndrome are no different than anyone else!
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