Down Syndrome Development Trust Joins Advocacy Organizations Worldwide to Say: Down Syndrome – So What!

On March 21, 2013, the 2nd World Down Syndrome Day – made official by the UN – will be celebrated across the world. This event aims to raise awareness about Down syndrome and inform members of the public about this often misunderstood disability, and about the prejudices people with Down Syndrome face each day. With advanced methods of prenatal screening now or soon to be available, this day takes on a singular and urgent dimension.

The expanded use of early prenatal screening for Down syndrome threatens to increase the already staggering number of terminations of pregnancies which are prenatally diagnosed. Down syndrome occurs in approximately 1 in 700 births and is a disability caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. The arrival of a new maternal blood test in Europe will certainly cause further stigmatization and rejection.

Many countries still lack comprehensive health policy requiring that families who receive an unexpected prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome be provided with information about positive therapeutic developments and outcomes for those living with Down syndrome. In addition, the efforts undertaken to facilitate integration of persons living with Down syndrome into educational systems and work places are clearly insufficient.

In 2013, European citizens, whatever their nationality, first and foremost need to be provided with a positive, and welcoming message about raising a disabled child. Individuals living with Down syndrome and their families are entitled to the same dignity and respect afforded to any other member of society, but that is never what they now receive.

To this purpose, associations from 12 nations: Spain, Portugal, Croatia, the United-Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Poland, Latvia, France, Russia, the U.S. and New-Zealand have launched this international campaign to say together:
Down Syndrome… so what!

In this awareness campaign, 5 people with Down syndrome from diverse cultural and national backgrounds, and of different ages (a young child, a young woman, two young men and an older man) call for the attention of the public and their political representatives. Their goal is to lessen the fear of those in society who are uncomfortable with the disabled, especially those living with Down syndrome. Thanks to their beautiful, mischievous and joyful faces, they witness to all of us that happiness is indeed possible for themselves and their families.

On the 21st March, the Fundación Síndrome de Down de Madrid, Canal Down21, Fundación Iberoamericana Down21 (Spain), APPT21, Olhar 21 (Portugal), le Down Syndrome Center Pula (Croatia), Down Syndrome Development Trust (United Kingdom), Coor Down (Italy), Arbeitskreis Down-Syndrom E.V. (Germany), Opole Association for Helping Children with Down Syndrome (Poland), Dauna Sindroma Biedriïba (Latvia), Down side up (Russia), Jérôme Lejeune Foundation (USA), Saving Down (New-Zealand), the collectif Les Amis d’Eléonore and the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune (France) share the same urgent message and strongly reaffirm: Down Syndrome… SO WHAT!


Download the Posters
Here you can download the UK Awareness Day posters (Adobe PDF) for your office or event.
And visit here – to find out more about the campaigns and country associations.