Tomorrow is World Down Syndrome Day, which is on 3/21 for 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. A couple ways to help increase awareness and show support is to perform a random act of kindness or wear crazy socks to draw attention in order to strike up a conversation. In either case, you can tell people that what you are doing is in honor of WDSD and you are showing support to people with Down Syndrome. If you want to show a picture of our little guy, please feel free! It’s always nice to connect the act with a sweet face.
So what kind of random acts can you do? Something that will allow you a chance to talk to someone directly is ideal, so waving in a driver in bad traffic probably wouldn’t be a good one. But letting someone cut in front of you in line, buying a stranger’s cup of coffee, buying the person’s lunch behind you, bringing in cookies into work or dropping it off at school with a little sign, whatever inspires you throughout the day works too! I’ve also heard of people paying for parking meters or some other thing and leaving a note on the windshield. The key is to increase awareness and show support while doing the act of kindness, otherwise it just shows people that you are a good soul (a good practice in general but does not necessarily increase awareness). It’s kind of a Pay It Forward with a Down Syndrome twist.
Or you can wear outrageous socks (because they look like chromosomes with some imagination) to increase awareness too. So when someone looks at your odd display, you can strike up a conversation about how you are supporting WDSD and even perhaps share a quick story or two (or picture of your loved one with Down Syndrome). Some people like this, some don’t. And living in the Midwest, the cold weather can prevent people from noticing socks hidden in long pants and shoes or boots. So I prefer the random act of kindness myself (and it makes you and another stranger feel good and have a better day, which is always a good thing).
Increasing awareness is something I try to do every day in everyday life. When I check out somewhere, I try to bring up the topic of our son and then I show them a picture of him on my phone. Sometimes they aren’t very interested, but I would say more often than not, we have a pleasant conversation. Or if I’m out with my son, I will bring up the fact that he has Down Syndrome and how great he is doing. Even people in line will strike up a conversation sometimes, although I tend to bring down the cashier’s productivity momentarily. But no matter. If I can help increase awareness, people in a rush can find another line to wait in.
This year’s theme is “my friends, my community.” Click here to view more. This theme is all about showing support for inclusion for people with Down Syndrome in the community, which leads to increased abilities, heightened self-confidence and greater independence overall. We strongly support inclusion for people with Down Syndrome, and we strongly believe that inclusion is critical for global acceptance and for allowing people with Down Syndrome the opportunity to make their dreams come true. That is why we are sponsoring a charity walk for Lumind, a non-profit that is working on research and clinical trials to help improve cognition and behavioral deficits, as well as Alzheimers, in people with Down Syndrome to bring us one more step closer to realizing true inclusion in the community. Click here to learn more.
So tomorrow is a specific call for the world to show support to those with Down Syndrome (hence why it’s called WDSD), so no matter where you are in the world, please join us in showing support. And don’t forget to share your pictures and stories on social media! #WDSD2016