March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day! – Celebrating Differences and Advocating for Community Inclusion.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s in my genes” before, but have you ever thought about what this really means? Genes carry information that determine what characteristics are inherited from our parents, such as the colour of your hair, how tall you are, and the colour of your eyes.
Genes are the basic units of heredity. They consist of DNA and are part of a larger structure called a chromosome. In each human cell, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Sometimes, for reasons unknown to us, an error occurs at the cell division stage when a child is conceived. If the chromosomes do not split into equal halves, the new cells can have an extra chromosome (47 total) or have a missing chromosome (45 total), resulting in a genetic condition.
Down Syndrome is the most common genetic condition, named after Dr John Langdon Down, the first physician to identify the condition in 1862. It occurs when an extra chromosome 21 is present in the DNA structure, and can occur in people from all races, cultures and social backgrounds.
March 21 marks World Down Syndrome Day, which celebrates and advocates for people with Down Syndrome. It is a day to raise awareness and share stories about what it means to have Down Syndrome, and how people with Down Syndrome play an important part in our lives and communities.
In Australia, there are more than 13,000 people with Down Syndrome.
We are all unique individuals, with differing looks, health needs, and intellectual abilities, the same can be applied to a person with Down Syndrome.
Most young people with Down Syndrome enjoy a typical life, with a range of support needs that can be minimal or more complex, depending on the individual.
Like many other genetic conditions, pre-natal testing can be carried out to check for Down Syndrome. GTL Australia provides clients with a fully Non Invasive Genetic Screening Test, which screens for 18 chromosomal conditions, including Down Syndrome.
A simple blood sample is all that is required, and with a 99.5% detection rate for Down Syndrome, provides more accurate results than traditional screening tests. (Please note that a diagnostic test may still be advised by your medical practitioner)
GTL Australia encourages everyone to attend events for World Down Syndrome Day, like the Community Market, to be held in Brisbane on March 25.
For events in your state, go to Down Syndrome Australia and select your region.