Down syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21) is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition; occurring in approximately 1 in 800 live births worldwide, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Down syndrome is characterized by varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability, as well as medical complications.
Commemoration of Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is observed every year on March 21 as a global initiative to raise awareness about the hereditary disorder. Down syndrome is characterized by the presence of an extra chromosome. The global incidence of Down Syndrome is estimated to be between 1 in 1,000 and; 1 in 1,100 live births, according to the United Nations. Every year, between 3,000 and 5,000 babies are born with this chromosomal abnormality around the world. Although the cause of this syndrome is unknown, it has always existed as part of the human condition.
This year’s theme for World Down Syndrome Day is “Inclusion Means”. It calls for people with Down syndrome to be included in all aspects of life and not discriminate against them.
Although the United Nations calls for “full and effective participation and inclusion in society” in the general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the reality today is quite different. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society are not beneficial to people with Down syndrome and disabilities.
Many people believe that policies already exist to guide the inclusion of people with disabilities. However, there is one major issue; and it revolves around the definition of “inclusion” and how an inclusive system works in practice.