Down Syndrome Awareness

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

The month of October is designated as Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the United States. This is a great opportunity to educate, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and your entire community what life with Down syndrome is truly like. This page is intended to help give you resources to gain and spread awareness!

Spread the Love through AWARENESS!

Members are encouraged to celebrate by doing one of the following. These are just a few ideas and we can help. If you commit to do one or more of the following, we’ll get more information and resources to you to assist. We’d love to know what you’re doing and we’ll have an area for you to share your ideas and successes with the rest of our community. Thank you and good luck!

Share our Just Like You Down Syndrome Film

JUST LIKE YOU — DOWN SYNDROME – explores the life, hopes, challenges and dreams of three kids living with Down syndrome. Elyssa, Rachel and Sam share personal stories to help viewers better understand their condition and why they wish to be treated just like you. Each of our stars has their own talents, characteristics, strengths and challenges. Down syndrome is just one part of who they are and this film identifies how to handle and accommodate differences while celebrating the many similarities our friends with Down syndrome have with their peers.

View the video below and share with friends.

Download and share a cover photo for your Facebook page

Click on any of the images below and you’ll be able to download or share any of them on Facebook or other Social Media pages!

The more you know...

  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.
  • There are more than 250,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
  • Down syndrome affects people of all races economic levels.
  • Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two,  copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • A few common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work; participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many ways.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
  • 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 lead healthy lives.
  • People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first. Instead of “a Down syndrome child,” it should be “a child with Down syndrome.” Also avoid “Down’s child” and describing the condition as “Down’s,” as in, “He has Down’s.”
  • Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease. You are born with and will have it throughout your life. People “have” Down syndrome, they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it.
  • While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both popular spellings, Down or Down’s, (with or without an apostrophe s), the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome. This is because an “apostrophe s” connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it. The Associated Press Stylebook recommends using “Down syndrome” as well.
  • Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.
  • Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated globally on 3/21 each year as people with Down syndrome have a third copy of their 21st chromosome. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. Down Syndrome Innovations encourages our members to commemorate this day by doing random acts of kindness and helping to raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. Download Random Acts of Kindness cards here and a list of suggested acts you can perform below:

  1. Babysit a friend or neighbor’s kids for free
  2. Do odd jobs or run errands for an elderly person
  3. Leave a bag of microwave popcorn on a RedBox machine
  4. Place a baggie full of quarters on a washer or dryer at your local laundromat
  5. Buy a few extra canned goods and donate to a food pantry
  6. Leave a book in a hospital waiting room
  7. Write a letter of appreciation to someone
  8. Donate blood
  9. Hand out dollars to people entering the Dollar Store
  10. Take a box of dog treats to the dog park and share
  11. Donate gently used clothing to a homeless shelter
  12. Leave bus fare in a baggie at a bus stop
  13. Bring cold water to construction workers
  14. Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru line
  15. Take balloons to the park and hand them out to kids
  16. Pick up litter in your neighborhood
  17. Prepare a meal for your neighbor
  18. Bring cards to a nursing home and visit residents

People First Language

People First Language (PFL) is a way of communicating that reflects knowledge and respect for people with disabilities by choosing words that recognize the person first and foremost as the primary reference and not his or her disability. The phrase “mental retardation” is offensive and outdated.  The terms “developmental disability,” “cognitive disability,” or “intellectual disability” may be substituted as more respectful options.

Learn more here and download a helpful PFL Guide here.
imbed this PFL guide

Media Inquiries & Guidelines

Down Syndrome Innovations is the premier resource on Down syndrome. Please contact with any media inquiries. We will gladly provide photography, quotes, connect you to members or share success stories.

As language, perceptions and social mores change rapidly, it is becoming increasingly difficult for journalists and other communicators to figure out how to refer to people with disabilities. Even the term “disability” is not universally accepted. This style guide, which covers dozens of words and terms commonly used when referring to disability, can help. The guide was developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and was last updated in the summer of 2021.