Raising Awareness About Down Syndrome

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month (DSAM). It is a time to celebrate individuals with Down syndrome and spread awareness that these individuals have unique talents. This month also advocates for acceptance, understanding, and helping people with Down syndrome live better lives in communities across Nebraska.   

People with Down syndrome are more alike than different. They can drive, go to work, attend college, and be active members of society. They achieve these milestones in life at their own unique pace and sometimes with the benefit of support. They have dreams and goals just like everyone else and can live a rich and fulfilling life as we see continued increases in integration into the community, school, workforce, and recreational activities.  

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal condition that has always been a part of the human species. It occurs when an individual is born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4%, and mosaicism accounts for about 1%. Approximately 6,000 babies are born in the United States with Down syndrome each year.

“It is important to increase awareness and build a community of acceptance and inclusion for people with Down syndrome,” said Tony Green, the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities. “As a result, they will flourish as active, contributing, and valued members of their community.”

Advocacy is a powerful way to influence change and make individual voices heard. By sharing success stories from the lives of individuals, friends, or family members, a brighter future can be ensured for all individuals with Down syndrome. A supportive and encouraging education, a loving and stimulating home environment, and quality health care can enable people with Down syndrome to live fulfilling and productive lives.

Looking for Support?

There is support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Below is a list of support organizations in Nebraska:

Omaha

Lincoln

Lincoln/Kearney

Northeast Nebraska

The Munroe-Meyer Institute provides several services including diagnosis and genetic counseling and can suggest early intervention programs and other services to address a child’s specific situation. The institute has offices in over 40 locations throughout the state including Omaha, Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff.

National Information Resources:

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