Persons with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, are more than persons in need of assistance; they are agents of change who can drive progress across society – and their voices must be heard. ~ United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), observed on 21 March every year, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome.
Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition. The occurrence of Down syndrome is universal across all racial and gender lines, and it is estimated to be present in approximately one in 781 births in Canada.
While most people have 46 chromosomes, those with Down syndrome have 47 because of a triplicate of the 21st chromosome. The most common type of Down syndrome (about 90%) is Standard Trisomy 21, along with Translocation and Mosaicism (combined 10%). While there may be medical issues (such as heart defects) that are associated with Down syndrome, Down syndrome itself is not a disease, and the medical issues are now much better known, understood, and treated, resulting in lives that are healthier and longer than ever before.
People with Down syndrome do not need a cure. But they do experience barriers such as bullying and stigma, so they need support, understanding, and opportunities.
Depending on the timing, it has been a tradition at LiveWorkPlay in recent years for Paul Knoll (see above) to pay tribute to World Down Syndrome Day at one of our events. Today, in keeping with our call for support, understanding, and opportunities, we share a bit of Paul’s story, which is still being written. Since his retirement (see video) he is into a new chapter of his life, with new educational experiences and other new pursuits that we hope to be able to share with you in the future. For now, enjoy this moment from last summer!