Opinion: Time to celebrate the accomplishments of people with Down Syndrome

The Norwalk Board of Education on Oct. 3 voted to recognize October as Down syndrome Awareness Month. This is the Board’s statement.

To bring awareness to Down syndrome, the Norwalk Board of Education recognizes October as Down syndrome Awareness Month.

Down syndrome was first described and classified by a doctor named John Langdon Down in the late nineteenth century. In 1959, a French physician identified Down syndrome as a chromosomal condition. In 2000, an international team of scientists successfully identified and catalogued each of the approximately 329 genes on chromosome 21. This accomplishment opened the door to great advances in Down syndrome research.

There are approximately 400,000 people living in the United States with Down syndrome, the most commonly occurring genetic condition. Down syndrome affects people of all ages, races and economic levels. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, or around 6,000 births per year.

There are still many misconceptions about Down syndrome and those who have it regarding cause, cognitive function, social ability, learning and employment capabilities. Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good medical care and positive support from family, friends community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

By declaring this Down syndrome Awareness Month, the Board of Education celebrates people with Down syndrome, their abilities and accomplishments.

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