World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day - Friday, March 21, 2025

Health Awareness Educational

Did you know that Down Syndrome—a disorder that occurs when there is a duplication of the twenty-first chromosome—affects approximately 6,000 babies at birth every year? So on March 21—a date chosen to represent the chromosomal defection found in Down Syndrome (the twenty-first day of the third month)—celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, an event created to raise public awareness, promote inclusivity, encourage advocacy, and support the wellbeing of those living with Down Syndrome.

All of us have come into contact with those with Down Syndrome at one time or other. Usually free-spirited and happy, and often surrounded by adoring animal friends, people with Down Syndrome seem to be able to enjoy the little things in life the way that many of us can’t—and in many ways, they do.

However, they also face countless challenges on an every day basis, and many simple things the rest of us take for granted can prove extremely difficult for them, despite their admirably positive attitude to life. That’s why we should all take some time this World Down Syndrome Day to learn a bit more about this disorder and how we can help those who have it live better lives.

The history of World Down Syndrome Day

Down syndrome has been observed in all races for thousands of years. Sadly, many infants with disabilities were either killed or abandoned in ancient times. However, quite a few historical pieces of art are believed to portray people an even angels with Down syndrome, including South American pottery dating back the 5th century AD as well as some Renaissance paintings.

Down syndrome was first characterized as a separate form of mental disability in 1862 by English physician John Langdon Down. It was almost a hundred years later, however, that its cause, the triplication of the 21st chromosome, was discovered by Jérôme Lejeune. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many individuals with Down syndrome were institutionalized, few of the associated medical problems were treated, and most died in infancy or early adult life.

The eugenics movement, which is usually thought to have been exclusive to Nazi Germany but which was in fact active in many different parts of the world, began programs of forced sterilization of individuals with Down syndrome and comparable degrees of disability in the first half of the 20th century. After the Second World War, many advocacy groups for Down syndrome formed and began fighting for the inclusion of people with Down syndrome into the general school system and for a greater understanding of the condition among the general population, as well as groups providing support for families with children with Down syndrome.

The first World Down Syndrome Day was held on March 21st 2006. The day and month of the day were not coincidental, but were chosen specifically to correspond with 21 and trisomy.

How to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is all about raising awareness about this disorder and finding ways to improve the lives of those who have it. No matter where you live in the world, there are plenty of events and activities taking place on this day you can take part in to support the cause, such as concerts, runs, conferences and carnivals. All you have to do is get on the official website of World Down Syndrome Day to see a complete list of all the fun and education events taking place on March 21st. If none of these events happen to be near you or you would like to celebrate this day differently, how about finding a way to help a person with Down syndrome in your area? With approximately 1 in 1,000 babies being born with the disorder, there is bound to be a family somewhere near you facing the challenge it is to raise a child with Down’s, or an adult with Down’s working harder than all the rest of us to live their life.

However if you celebrate this day, use it to make the world a better place!

World Down Syndrome Day timeline


AFRT is Created

AFRT—the French Association for Research on Trisomy 21—is founded in order to support research for Down Syndrome.


A Date is Chosen

This year marks not only the first meeting held by AFRT, but also the year that March 21 is recognized as a symbolic day to represent Down Syndrome.


WHO Recognizes the Day

The World Health Organization acknowledges March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day.


The UN Follows Suit

The United Nations supports WHO’s acknowledgement of March 21 and also recognizes this date as World Down Syndrome Day.


World Down Syndrome Day First Celebrated

This year marks the first year that World Down Syndrome Day is to be celebrated annually on March 21.

How to Observe World Down Syndrome Day

  1. Get involved

    Show your support by attending an event in honor of World Down Syndrome Day or donating to a charity online. Step it up a notch by promoting your involvement on social media with #WDSD18 to inspire others to take the same initiative.

  2. Incorporate blue and yellow

    As the designated colors of the cause, blue and/or yellow should be utilized on World Syndrome Day. You can show your support by wearing something blue or yellow, icing cupcakes with blue and yellow frosting for schools, decorating an office with blue and yellow flowers or balloons, or filling bowls with blue and yellow M&Ms—it doesn’t matter how you rock these colors, just be sure you do.

  3. Organize an event

    Take initiative and organize your own event that will raise money and awareness for Down Syndrome. Planning a walk, holding a bake sale, hosting a raffle or setting up a school fair are all fun events that will benefit those with Down Syndrome.

Why World Down Syndrome Day is Important

  1. It promotes awareness

    Down Syndrome effects approximately 400,000 families in the United States alone. World Down Syndrome Day helps educate the public on what Down Syndrome is and how to encourage those with Down Syndrome to participate in daily activities so they can live a full life and play a vital role in their community.

  2. It empowers people with Down Syndrome

    The accomplishments and contributions of people with Down Syndrome are often overlooked. However, this event highlights the positive difference they make in their community and gives them the recognition they deserve.

  3. It helps raise money for research

    Each year, one in 700 babies in the United States is born with Down Syndrome. However, the cause is still unknown. By donating to Down Syndrome charities, you’re having an impact on those currently living with Down Syndrome and helping get one step closer to finding the cause.

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