March 21st marked the 9th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day. This yearly event is a time for the world to hear the voice of people with Down Syndrome, and those who live and work with them. The issues faced by the these members of our community are highlighted yearly at this event, such as lack inclusion in society, or access to healthcare. A series of events were held in the UK as part of creating this single global voice that advocates for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.
The World Down Syndrome Day awards were also presented to a selection of international supporters of those with Down Syndrome and there were two UK recipients;
Essex Fire and Rescue, who initiated and helped to run a yearly fire fighter training course for young people with Down syndrome designed to encourage learning important technical skills, responsibilities and leadership. Participants have gone on to take more advanced fire courses and others have been given the confidence to do new activities and seek further challenges.
Dr Jennifer Dennis, Founder member of Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group UK and Ireland. Also founder of one of the first specialised, multidisciplinary health services for children with Down syndrome in the UK. She has developed the UK personal child health record insert for children with Down syndrome and UK Down syndrome growth charts.
In the fast world we live in, we often don’t hear the voices that are calling for change for those who don’t share the same level of access and equality that we take for granted. World Down Syndrome Day is a great event designed to help us do just that, and it is going from strength to strength.