October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month. You may not know me, but my name is Everleigh Gilbert and I have Down syndrome. My mom made up this little fact sheet for you! I am currently in the infant room, but should be moving up to the toddler room soon.
· -Down syndrome is medically called Trisomy 21. It is a third copy of the 21st chromosome. Although the chances of having a child with Down syndrome increases with maternal age, 80% of people with Down syndrome are born to mothers under 35
· -John Langdon Down was the man who characterized the condition, but he did not have Down Syndrome, and therefore there is no apostrophe in the name (such as Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
· -There are 3 types of Down syndrome; non-disjunction, mosaic, and translocation.
· Mosaic and translocation are more “rare” and can be genetically passed down. Non-disjunction is the most common kind and does not have a genetic link. 90% of people with Ds have non-disjunction, just like me!
· -People with Down syndrome are more alike than different.
o We like to run and play.
o We like to colour and read.
o We like to sing, dance, jump etc.
o We can attend and graduate from high school and college.
o We can have a successful career.
o We can fall in love and get married.
· -People with Ds can do most (if not all) the same things you can do, it just may take them a little longer to do things like sit up, walk, talk, write, read etc. They will learn to do it on their own time.
· -People with Ds have a higher probability of being born with heart defects, gastrointestinal problems, eye problems etc. But with advancing medical care, we are able to live almost as long as a typical person.
· -Fundraising efforts called Buddy Walks are held all over the world, and all monies raised go towards the local region where it is held, with a portion going back to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.
· -Although the word ‘retarded’ is still used in medical terminology, it is no longer socially acceptable to use as a synonym for stupid, silly, etc.
· -Spread the Word to End the Word is (www.r-word.org) is a website with an online pledge, and lots of information on how using this word affects people and families dealing with a disability.