October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a chance to spread awareness. During the month of October, we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of our abilities and accomplishments. It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition resulting from the presence of all or a partial extra copy of chromosome 21 – individuals with Down syndrome have 47 instead of the usual 46 chromosomes. This additional genetic material alters development and causes the physical characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
Although each person with Down syndrome is unique in their own way, some of the common traits of Down syndrome are – low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, a single deep crease across the center of the palm and some degree of intellectual disability.
People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory, hearing and vision problems, childhood leukemia, thyroid conditions, gastrointestinal issues, and Alzheimer’s disease. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
It is important to note that a caring and enriching home environment, early intervention and integrated education efforts will have a positive influence on the child’s development.
How Common is Down Syndrome?
One in every 691 babies in the the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. The Up Side of Downs welcomes approximately 30 new babies each year.
The ADRC of Dane County provides information about resources and support on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability and is a one-stop shop for older adults, people with disabilities and their families. ADRC staff are unbiased and knowledgeable professionals who listen to your concerns, help clarify your options and direct you to appropriate resources. The ADRC is also the access point for information about long-term care options and applying for public benefits. Services provided by the ADRC are free and available to all Dane County residents regardless of income or assets.
ADRC staff are available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling (608) 240-7400. Individuals can also send e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org, drop by our office on North Sherman Avenue or visit us at www.daneadrc.org. Home visits are available upon request.