March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. 3/21 is a great reminder because the date itself reminds us of the source of the condition we call Down syndrome. The formal name for Down syndrome is Trisomy Twenty One. This means that there are three copies of the twenty-first chromosome in people with Down syndrome. You can Wikipedia all the technical data you ever wanna know about Down syndrome. So from me, in honor of World Down Syndrome Day, I give you 21 things you can do to honor those with Down syndrome.
- Stop saying, "retarded." It's low class and it's not funny to those who actually have a condition that includes mental retardation.
- Hug. Obviously get appropriate permission, but people with Down syndrome are often huggers and they are the BEST hugs you will ever get.
- Lend your social media influence to honor those with Downs syndrome. Repost this blog. Say something uplifting about Down syndrome. Be a positive force on 3/21. The unofficial hashtag is #3/21...you heard it here first!
- Buy dinner or coffee. If you see a family or individual with Down syndrome at a restaurant or coffee shop, buy their meal or coffee. This random act of kindness means the world to that family or individual.
- Tip a little extra. You will often see adults with Down syndrome in jobs where it's appropriate to leave a tip. Leave a big one.
- Attend a Down syndrome event. Run a 5k, attend a "buddy walk" or volunteer at a local special needs school or children's hospital.
- Sit down with your children and explain very clearly the way you expect them to treat people with Down syndrome. Raise the next generation to care and be caring.
- Say "thank you" to the countless therapists, doctors, teachers and volunteers who make it their life work to assist those with Down syndrome.
- YouTube "Cooper's story" and watch it....then repost it (shameless plug).
- Support Special Olympics.
- Offer to babysit for FREE so moms and dads can get a night out - which may rarely happen because of the demands of a young child with Down syndrome.
- Help your church create a place for people with special needs. I hear of LOTS of people who have special needs children who are basically turned away from church because the church has no plan to help care for those precious children. Praise God this is not the case at Highpoint Church!
- Get together with some friends or a Sunday School class and sponsor a trip for a family or individual with Down syndrome.
- Shop at places like Target that proudly use models with Down syndrome in their ads.
- Secretly buy and give a family or individual with Down syndrome an iPad. There are tons of great apps coming out to help with developmental issues.
- Believe in people with Down syndrome and encourage them to grow and achieve high accomplishments.
- Employers, take a chance and give a person with Down syndrome a job. Be patient, they can do just about anything with a little time and caring instruction.
- Don't feel sorry people who have a family member with Down syndrome. It's an extra chromosome, not a curse.
- Support legislation that positively impacts people with Down syndrome. Go out of your way to write or call your congressman/senator.
- If you are in middle school or high school, make friends, encourage involvement and stand up for the dignity of your peers who have Down syndrome.
- Learn from them. People with Down syndrome, like my son Cooper, will teach you what it means to love people the way God calls us to love. Our world is ABSOLUTELY a better place because of that tiny little chromosome.
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