What is Down’s Syndrome and How Does it Affect People?
Down Syndrome or Down’s Syndrome (both are correct) is when you’re born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. This is usually by chance - it doesn’t typically run in families.
This extra chromosome can affect development and cause some of the common characteristics we usually see with Down’s Syndrome. It is a lifelong condition, but it isn’t thought of as an illness or a disease.
People with Down’s Syndrome will often have some level of learning disability, but this varies a lot from person to person - some will be much more independent whereas some need more care. According to Learning Disability Today, Down’s Syndrome is the most common genetic cause of learning disability, affecting around 1 in every 1,000 children around the world. Down’s Syndrome can also cause delays in speech and motor skills, and some types of medical conditions.
World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day has been celebrated since 2006, and was officially recognised by the United Nations in 2012. It was chosen on 21st March to signify the 3 copies of the 21st Chromosome that people with Down’s Syndrome have.
By celebrating this day every year, we can raise awareness for those with Down’s Syndrome and advocate for their rights, wellbeing and inclusion throughout all areas of life. It is also a chance to share experiences and ideas and come together as a community.
In 2022, people are being encouraged to consider the question “What does inclusion mean?”. This is because many people with Down’s Syndrome aren’t typically able to fully engage with society, and there is still a lot of work to be done around education and building an inclusive community.
If you want to get involved this Down Syndrome Day, use the hashtag #InclusionMeans and share your ideas on social media, and see what others have to say!
Down’s Syndrome and SVC
At SVC our goal is to support those with Down’s Syndrome and provide a safe and enjoyable environment where they can have fun together, which they might not otherwise get the chance to do.
We set up our Laugh Out Loud (LOL) Fridays project in 2012 in partnership with the Down’s Syndrome Association as a social club once every two weeks for young people with Down’s Syndrome. As well as being a place to have fun, it also provides an opportunity to improve communication and social skills. Almost ten years later, we’re still running the project with 14 regular beneficiaries each fortnight!
This year, the project has alternated between in person and digital sessions as some families are still understandably cautious around coronavirus. This has meant we have done lots of activities over Zoom, like baking, crafts, karaoke and some sing-alongs with our friends at Shiny Happy People, but we’ve also ran in person activities like bowling, art, a talent show and a games session.
Some standout moments of the year include going bowling and eating at Five Guys before Christmas, or the talent show in February where everyone was laughing and having fun together showing off their skills. One beneficiary Gareth said about the project: “I like LOL because I enjoy seeing my friends, it’s like having a family”. We love running our LOL project and would love to run it for many more years to come.
Search #InclusionMeans on Twitter