Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month - October 2024

Health Educational

Down syndrome occurs across the human spectrum and is the most common chromosomal condition. Each year, about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome — a 1 in 700 chance. The prevalence of Down syndrome increases with the mother’s age. It is associated with delays in physical growth, characteristic facial features and intellectual disability. In fact, the average IQ of an adult with Down syndrome is equivalent to that of an 8-year-old.

These are just facts, and like all facts, they can fail to provide a full picture. The truth is that children born with Down syndrome can absolutely go on to live happy and long lives. And with Down Syndrome Awareness Month every October, we can be inspired to learn more about this topic and to celebrate people born with Down syndrome and the medical advancements that increasingly improve their quality of life.

Down Syndrome is one of the most common disorders but also one of the most misunderstood. With one in 800 children being born with Down Syndrome each year, many outside of those statistics cannot comprehend what it is like to have a child with the disorder or be a person with it. That’s why Down Syndrome Awareness Month is here to change that.

History of Down Syndrome Awareness Day

Down Syndrome Awareness Month is all about helping people understand what Down Syndrome is and how people with Down Syndrome experience the world. According to the main website, this month celebration is about teaching people that perceive Down Syndrome as a disability that it is not what defines them as people. Since the late 90’s, people have been spreading advocacy, awareness and inclusion through events all over the United States. Because Down Syndrome is one of the most common disabilities, many who don’t know what it is like only see them for what disability they have. With this holiday, it is about changing that for the better.

Organizations such as Ups with Downs and the National Association for Down Syndrome have been advocating this holiday as a way to teach people about Down Syndrome and tell stories of people all over the world what their experiences are. Each of these organizations help raise money for education programs, hoping to create a positive impact with each event. Down Syndrome, while it can be misunderstood, can create change when people know what it is and know how to interact. Thus, this holiday aims to change the way people view those with Down Syndrome by changing the bias of what a mental/genetic disability is.

How to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Day 

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate this month long holiday, start by making a donation to your local or national Down Syndrome Awareness organization and taking part in one of their events. You can also look up on their website and listen to people’s stories, read articles about Down Syndrome, and see how you personally can get involved in the organization. Share this holiday on your favorite social media website by using the hashtag #downsyndromeawarenessmonth and let everyone know what day it is today.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month timeline


Down syndrome loses the apostrophe 's'

The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends replacing the possessive form "Down's syndrome" with "Down syndrome."

The 1950s

Lejeune pinpoints extra chromosome

French pediatrician and geneticist Jerome Lejeune works toward his discovery ultimately proving that Down syndrome results from an extra chromosome.


Down classifies disease names for him

English physician John Langdon Down classifies the genetic disorder now known as Down syndrome.

5 Interesting Facts About Down Syndrome

  1. Society has changed for the better

    In ancient times, infants with Down syndrome were often killed or abandoned. And even in modern times, many people with Down syndrome were institutionalized.

  2. Pregnancy testing can pinpoint Down syndrome

    According to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, "Down syndrome has nothing to do with race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or anything the mother or father did during pregnancy." Mothers can learn through diagnostics tests during pregnancy whether or not their baby has Down syndrome.

  3. There are three types

    Of the three types of Down syndrome — trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) is most prevalent. Translocation and mosaicism account for about 5 percent of cases combined.

  4. People with Down can live full, rich lives

    An emphasis on education, a loving and stimulating home environment, and quality health care enable people with Down syndrome to have full and productive lives.

  5. Life expectancy is increasing

    As reported by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, "As recently as 1983, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome was 25 years. The dramatic increase is largely due to the end of the inhumane practice of institutionalizing people with Down syndrome."

How to Observe Down Syndrome Awareness Month

  1. Join a Buddy Walk

    According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the Buddy Walk "has grown to be the world’s largest and most recognizable Down syndrome awareness program with over 250 walks taking place in 50 states and select international countries."

  2. Volunteer

    There are plenty of things you can do during Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but volunteering with one of the many Down syndrome advocacy groups is one of the best and most effective.

  3. Spread the word

    The Down Syndrome Information Alliance suggests celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month by carrying out 31 random acts of kindness — one for each day in October.

Why Down Syndrome Awareness Month is Important

  1. It spreads awareness

    Down Syndrome Awareness Month teaches people about this topic. As reminds us, we should "celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of (their) abilities and accomplishments."

  2. It's inspirational

    Down Syndrome Awareness Month helps us celebrate abilities, rather than disabilities, as various Down Syndrome Associations in the United States teach.

  3. It's encouraging

    Down Syndrome Awareness Month can definitely help foster inclusion, understanding, and more opportunities for people with Down syndrome.

Also on Tue Oct 1, 2024...