World Down Syndrome Day was established in 2011 by the U.N General Assembly and is celebrated on March 21st each year.
Today, students across Black Gold School Division are wearing socks bright, colourful, short or long – the choice is endless – to show off their uniqueness and to support people with Down syndrome. Even our Board of Trustees and Senior Administration have gotten into the spirit of inclusion with fun, colourful socks!
Rock Your Socks Day focuses attention on the fact that we are all different, and that’s okay! Like socks, people come in all types, shapes, and sizes. We are diverse, each of us is unique in own own way and yet we’re all part of the same human family.
“Could you imagine if we lived in a world that we were all the same,” said Ward 3 Trustee Angie Charpentier. “We need to learn to be happy with ourselves; let me be me and you be you. This day is about diversity, uniqueness, inclusion and acceptance.”
Down syndrome is a genetic condition – it is not an illness or disease. Approximately one in every 700 – 900 babies born will have Down syndrome. Down syndrome is caused by the occurrence of an extra chromosome, chromosome 21. (Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21).
People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46. This results in a range of physical characteristics, health and development indications and some level of intellectual disability.
It was named after Dr John Langdon Down who first described it. Although we know how Down syndrome happens, we do not yet know why it happens. Down syndrome occurs at conception, across all ethnic and social groups and to parents of all ages. It is nobody’s fault, there is no cure and it does not go away.
People with Down syndrome may find doing some activities more challenging but, just like everyone else, people with Down syndrome will continue to learn, and are good at some things and not others.
Those with Down syndrome can achieve an optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community based support systems. By being inclusive such as with education, those with Down syndrome can have greater participation in mainstream society.
“One of the Division’s foundational statements is that we strive to create an inclusive environment that embraces diversity, and is supportive and safe for all,” said Board Chair Devonna Klaassen. “We know that student learning is maximized in a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe environment where bullying and harassment, in any form, is prohibited.”