World Down Syndrome Day

March 21, 2011

 March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day, the 3/21 referencing the third copy of the 21st chromosome which characterizes Down syndrome.

Who knew?  I certainly didn’t three years ago as I began my maternity leave and waited for my little one to be born.  Three and a half weeks later, we both entered a new world.  I find it hard to believe that three years ago I didn’t know anyone with Down syndrome considering I now know so many.  I honestly adore them all, and when I’m told we have a new family in our region, I feel completely excited to meet them because I just know their new baby is going to be amazing.

I have to say I wish an awareness day for Down syndrome was not necessary. However, despite the love and support my daughter receives from everyone she meets, I know that raising awareness remains extremely important.   I know it from the pitying looks we still get sometimes and from the way the “r” word is casually thrown around in front of  us.  I know it from the comments left on online news articles that have anything to do with Down syndrome and from how often I am asked how “high functioning” my child will be.  I know it from deeply disturbing stories that I will not discuss here because I want it to be a positive space. And I know it because no matter who we meet or however kind they are to my child, Down syndrome is the first thing people see.

It is for these reasons that this site has come into existence.  I just hope that by sharing such great stories and media, awareness will trickle out there.  Today it seems only fitting to post a video that  has been created by Down Syndrome International in honour of World Down Syndrome Day 2011.  It is called Let Us In and features individuals with Down syndrome from around the world who have come together to raise awareness and promote inclusion.  May we all follow their example.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Maureen Braun March 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

I loved watching this video.
I loved the smiling faces and the international aspect that gives this issue such a broad base.
Once you get to know and love a child or person with D.S. It changes your perspective. It makes you more loving and open to all people that appear to you as different.

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Heather March 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Yes, I loved the international aspect too! I agree with you – I think you do become open to all people. We’ve got to know a lot of children now with all sorts of disabilities and whereas I might not have known what to say before, it doesn’t seem so unfamiliar now, I guess.

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carole spyridaki March 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Heather, i think in the end, we finally meet the idea of simply loving..loving life and smiles ( or not), and being!!!!!!!!!
the question of ‘high functioning’ can equally be placed at your, my,Harper’s :) ), or anyone’s doorstep.
love your posts, and their sincerity, complete focus.
thanks!
carole

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Heather March 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Yes, and the motto for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is: Celebrate Being! Thanks for your comment – it made my day!

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carole spyridaki April 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Celebrate being!!!!!!!!!!!
perfect!!
carole

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