Odd socks are being rocked by people all over the world to mark Down syndrome day, one of today’s most misunderstood yet easily identified medical conditions.
Around one in every thousand babies born in the UK will be affected by Down syndrome and there are around 60,000 people with the condition nationwide.
Tatty Bowman, co-chair of 21&Co, a south west London support group for families who have children with Down syndrome, said the events are ‘to show there is nothing frightening about Down syndrome’.
Mrs Bowman has a young son with Down syndrome and throws her all into 21&Co, she said: “Even though we are a small charity we do a heck of a lot.”
Her son George, 10, also has autism and Mrs Bowman said him came with the same ups and downs all parents encounter.
“He doesn’t cause us any issues, we are a regular happy family,” she said.
“Down syndrome is nothing to be worried about, it just fits in with your life.”
Mrs Bowman also explained how important it was to educate doctors how to advise families after a diagnosis during pregnancy is made, and not to immediately suggest a termination.
The rate of termination for Down syndrome children in the UK is very high, with more than 950 terminations recorded in 2012 according to the Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register report.
Although stigmas about Down syndrome remain, Mrs Bowman’s attitude is quite straightforward.
She said: “The general public who have an anxiety about coming across someone with Down syndrome ought to bite the bullet and say hello – it’s nothing to be scared of!”
21&Co was both founded and run by parents of children with Down syndrome, and acts as an important lifeline for families.
The support group, whose mission is to enhance the lives of children with Down syndrome and help them reach their potential, is named after a reference to the human chromosome 21.
Most people have two copies of chromosome 21 but when it there are three, instead of two chromosomes, the genetic variation that causes Downs syndrome.
They offer an extensive range of activities, information days for parents and teachers and weekly speech therapy sessions for children.
Picture courtesy of circulating, with thanks