Every year, on March 21, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is observed as a global awareness day dedicated to this intellectual and developmental disability. The 21st day of the third month of the year wasn’t selected at random; it represents the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome—the cause of Down syndrome.
A Brief History of World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day originated in 2006 with Down Syndrome Association Singapore. The organization launched and maintained the website through 2010 on behalf of Down Syndrome International (DSi).
The Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome and DSi subsequently undertook a massive campaign to generate international support for the awareness initiative.
Efforts on the part of Brazil and Poland in the United Nations quickly paid off. On Thursday, November 10, 2011, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly accepted by consensus a resolution establishing WDSD.
All around the world, organizations dedicated to Down syndrome encouraged their governments to co-sponsor the UN’s WDSD resolution. In the end, the resolution was co-sponsored by 78 UN member nations.
On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 to be World Down Syndrome Day. Visit the UN’s WDSD page here.
Sharing Personal Stories for WDSD
Sharing real stories of people with Down syndrome is the most powerful, compelling way to spread awareness about this disorder and to combat the many myths, misunderstandings, and prejudices pertaining to it.
To see the many stories compiled for World Down Syndrome Day or to share your own story, visit this page on the WDSD website.
Getting Involved with World Down Syndrome Day
If you’d like to join the global effort to promote WDSD and Down syndrome awareness and understanding, visit this page on the WDSD website. Sign up to get access to resources and training, pre-written messages you can share, invitations to participate in coordinated online events, and more. And there are even more ways to get involved here.