October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October 14, 2019

Breese, IL - -This month is the perfect opportunity to spread knowledge, understanding and support to friends and family with loved ones with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition. 

People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives.

Due to advances in medical technology, individuals with Down syndrome are living longer than ever before. In 1910, children with Down syndrome were expected to survive to age nine. With the discovery of antibiotics, the average survival age increased to 19 or 20. Now, with recent advancements in clinical treatment, most particularly corrective heart surgeries, as many as 80% of adults with Down syndrome reach age 60, and many live even longer.

Individuals with Down syndrome possess varying degrees of cognitive delays, from very mild to severe, but are not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. Organizations like Community Link work very hard in conjunction with family, friends and the community to provide opportunities for people with Down syndrome to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

How to Observe Down Syndrome Awareness Month

  1. Mark Your Calendar to Attend the Buddy Walk
    Community Link’s 14th Annual Buddy Walk will be held on Saturday, May 2nd. According to the latest numbers from the National Down Syndrome Society, Community Link’s Buddy Walk now ranks # 11 in the nation! This would not be possible without the support from our community. Thank you for making our Buddy Walk one of the finest in the country!
  2. Volunteer
    Volunteer by reading to a group, sharing your favorite hobbies, or assisting in daily activities. Volunteers make a direct and immediate impact on the participants at Community Link. Contact Mary at 526-3929 or at MaryH@commlink.org.
  3. Host a fundraiser
    Whether you hold a Crazy Sock Day or just encourage individuals to wear blue and yellow, make sure to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st! Last year Central Community High School and Albers Elementary raised $1,845.62 collectively during the week of World Down Syndrome Day. The winning classes at each school received a free Sweetest Mile soft drink!
  4. Spread the Word to End the Word
    It is time we Spread the Word to End the Word and build awareness for society to stop and think about the use of the R-word. The word “retard” or “retarded,” is hurtful and painful and whether intended or not, is a form of bullying. Most people don’t realize this word is a form of hate speech, but that’s what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends. The R-word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur. Visit www.r-word.org to make your pledge today. Eliminating the use of this word is a step toward respect.

Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. For more information, please visit our website at www.commlink.org.

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