Down Syndrome Awareness: Dispel the Misconceptions
Mar 21, 2017
March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day to symbolize the third copy of the 21st chromosome in people with Down syndrome. Due to trisomy 21, Down syndrome is present in 1 in 792 live births and associated with a variety of medical and developmental concerns including congenital heart disease, thyroid disease and sleep apnea. World Down Syndrome Day is a good opportunity to celebrate the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
Through Your Language
The words we use matter and set the tone for interactions with families and individuals with Down syndrome. Take the extra time to describe a baby as an ‘infant with Down syndrome’ and to use "Down syndrome" rather than "Down’s." Families and individuals with Down syndrome appreciate this and it shows respect for the individual. Patient-first language shows that a medical condition or genetic syndrome does not define the patient and shows it is simply one aspect of who they are.
Businesses employ adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions – in banks, corporations, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, offices and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and the computer industry, to name a few. Like anybody else, people with Down syndrome want to have a job where their work will be valued.
Down syndrome facts are great to share with your followers and encourage them to share as well. Did you know that adults with Down syndrome now have a life expectancy of 60? Did you know that Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition?
Stephanie Santoro has been a pediatrician and clinical geneticist at Nationwide Children's Hospital since 2014.
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