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Down Syndrome Awareness — Celebrating Abilities

Morning Star Quality Home Health

Down Syndrome Awareness, a young woman prating Yoga


“It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities”

 NDSS Goodwill Ambassador, Chris Burke


Many of us learned in our 8th-grade biology class about genetics and how each cell in the human body has a nucleus, and where genetic material is stored in the genes. You likely learned how each cell’s nucleus also contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent cell. But many people may not be aware that when the chromosome pair number 21 has a full or partial extra copy, Down syndrome occurs, also known as Trisomy 21.

The Discovery of Down Syndrome

In 1866, John Langdon Down published scholarly work explaining a person with Down syndrome, which recognized him as the “father” of the syndrome. In 1959, French physician Jerome Lejeune identified that DS is actually a chromosomal condition. He observed 47 cells in individuals with DS, which opened the door for advances in DS research. In 2000, a team of scientists across the world identified each of the approximately 329 genes on chromosome 21. Thanks to the research over all those years, we can now recognize ways that we can assist those with Down syndrome, along with their families as well.

The ‘Cause’ of Down Syndrome

The cause of Down syndrome is unknown, although some factors have been linked to an increased chance of having a child with Down syndrome, such as maternal age. There is no scientific research indicating that environmental factors or activities before/during pregnancy cause Down syndrome.

Those with Down Syndrome are Not Disabled; they are Just Differently-abled

It is important to understand that individuals who have Down syndrome all have different talents and the ability to thrive. Providing services early in life will help the individual develop to their full potential. Some services that may benefit a person with Down syndrome include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, and all are typically offered in childhood programs within each state. Many people with Down syndrome have grown up to be very successful, working in various industries such as the food industry, the service industry, the fashion industry, the entertainment industry, and many more.

Bringing Awareness

You can bring awareness to Down syndrome by raising funds for the cause or volunteering to participate for the cause when needed. Individuals with Down syndrome have individual interests and talents, and they should be encouraged to use those talents to maximize their full potential. Everyone brings something different to the table, and we should embrace those differences and be kind and accepting of all.

About the Author

Chelsea Woods has a Master’s degree in special education and is an Educational Diagnostician. Her passion is children, particularly children with special needs. Chelsea has been married to her husband Dylan for 6 years, and they have two girls, Kamdyn, five, and Emersyn, one. She enjoys time with her church family, working in their garden, and taking vacations and making memories as a family.

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