Down syndrome has always been part of the human condition, exists in all regions of the world and usually has varying effects on learning styles, physical characteristics or health.
Adequate access to health care, early intervention programs and inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.
In December 2011, the General Assembly declared March 21, World Down Syndrome Day. The celebration is intended to generate greater public awareness of the issue and to recall the inherent dignity, worth and valuable contributions of people with intellectual disabilities as promoters of the well-being and diversity of their communities. It also wants to highlight the importance of their individual autonomy and independence, particularly the freedom to make their own decisions.
Background: Understanding Down Syndrome
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by extra genetic material on chromosome 21 that results in intellectual disability.
The estimated incidence of Down syndrome worldwide is between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 1,100 newborns.
People with Down syndrome tend to have more health problems in general. However, social and medical advances have succeeded in improving the quality of life for people with the syndrome. At the beginning of the 20th century, those affected were expected to live less than 10 years. Now, about 80% of adults with the syndrome live beyond the age of 50. Early medical and parental work supports the quality of life and health of those with this genetic disorder by meeting their health needs, which include regular checkups to monitor their physical and mental development, as well as timely intervention, whether with physical therapy, inclusive special education or other community-based support systems.
With us, not for us
The message ofis fundamental to a human rights-based approach to disability.
We are committed to moving away from the outdated charity model of disability, which treated people with disabilities as objects of charity, deserving of pity and dependent on the help of others.
A human rights-based approach believes that people with disabilities have the right to be treated fairly and to have the same opportunities as everyone else, working with others to improve their lives.
With information from Naciones Unidas.
By: MSc. Dra. Patricia Alonso Galbán. Communication Specialist of CSMC, S.A.