This year Woodend Primary school will be participating in World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) which is celebrated on Wednesday, 21 March each year. This year, we will use the Lots of Socks theme created by Down Syndrome International to help celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. On this day, we invite your child to wear socks of their choice to school. They can be bright, colourful, short or long, the choice is endless!

During the day we will be discussing what makes us all unique as well as Down Syndrome. We will talk about inclusion and how we can all help each other to feel included. Please find below a brief definition of Down Syndrome as a reference, should you want to discuss the day with your child.

Why Wednesday, 21 March?

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on this date every year because effectively Down Syndrome is the result of an additional 21st chromosome (3 instead of 2). The United Nations General Assembly decided that from 2012, World Down Syndrome Day would be celebrated on 21 March each year for this reason. Organisations around the world are invited to observe WDSD in an appropriate way, to raise awareness of Down syndrome.

Why Lots of Socks?

Lots of Socks is a Down Syndrome International campaign to create conversation and bring awareness of Down syndrome on World Down Syndrome Day, each year. The idea behind the Lots of Socks initiative is that all types, shapes, sizes of the same thing can be unique in their own way, and yet do the same thing. Children understand what socks are, how they look and what they are for, and children understand that no two socks are the same. Lots of Socks is a campaign to create conversation about diversity, uniqueness, inclusion and acceptance.

What is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic condition – it is not an illness or disease. Approximately one in every 700–900 babies born will have Down syndrome. Down syndrome is caused by the occurrence of an extra chromosome, chromosome 21. (Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21 or T21). People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46. This may result in a range of physical characteristics, health or development indications and some level of intellectual disability.  It was named after Dr John Langdon Down who first described it. Although we know how Down syndrome happens, we do not yet know why it happens. Down syndrome occurs at conception, across all ethnic and social groups and to parents of all ages. It is nobody’s fault, there is no cure and it does not go away. People with Down syndrome may find doing some activities more challenging but, just like everyone else, people with Down syndrome will continue to learn, and are good at some things and not others.