This week there were global celebrations for World Down Syndrome Day. World Down Syndrome Day (21st March) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. This year the theme is #WhatIBringToMyCommunity. It aims to show how people with Down’s syndrome can and do make meaningful contributions throughout their lives. It attempts to explain how negative attitudes and a lack of knowledge about their potential as individuals prevent people with Down Syndrome from having opportunities to make contributions. It also attempts to empower people with Down syndrome (and those supporting them) to advocate for their rights and opportunities to make meaningful contributions.
For those of you who may not be aware of what Down’s syndrome is – it is a congenital disorder arising from a chromosome defect, causing intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities including short stature and a broad facial profile. It arises from a defect involving chromosome 21, usually an extra copy. There are around 60,000 people with the condition in the UK.
I do not have much of a personal connection to Down’s syndrome. However when I was aged 11 at secondary school, I do remember two 16 year old boys, Gary & Robert, with the disability and I would chat with them at break times and they were both great fun to spend time with and talk to. I strongly agree that people with Down’s syndrome (and any disability for that matter) can all contribute throughout their lives.
As part of my role as a contributing writer for Disability Horizons, I have been given the opportunity to write up a story about four actors with Down’s syndrome who took part in a pioneering project in Africa. I thought it was an interesting and inspirational story that I wanted to share it on my blog.
Hijinx Able to Act project