#WorldDownSyndromeDay #LotsOfSocks #InclusionMatters
There are approximately 40,000 people with Down’s syndrome living in the UK and Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week is centred around the international day that raises awareness worldwide. It has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012 and it always coincides with the 21st day of the third month for a very specific reason: it signifies the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome that causes Down’s syndrome.
Open your doors – Get in touch with your local Down’s syndrome groups in your area, and invite them along to an open day at your venue. It’s a great way to meet everyone and provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people to get together and have a good look around.
Learn some Makaton – Some people with Down’s Syndrome will have communication difficulties, and may use Makaton. This is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It’s designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech. It’s used by over 100,000 children and adults across the UK. So, why not use World Down’s Syndrome Day as a focus to train up your front-line staff in some useful and relevant Makaton signs? The Makaton society will be able to help you find out more, and don’t forget to tell them it’s for WDSD. While you’re at it you could look into getting some picture and symbol resources created that will help with communication even more, see www.widgit.com for more help and information.
Plan a Relaxed event – If you’ve been thinking about offering a Relaxed performance or event here’s your chance to promote it, or coincide the event with the day itself. These are performances or events that have been adjusted slightly to create a more relaxed and welcoming environment, such as reducing some lighting effects and loud noises, and rules relating to noise and movement are relaxed too. Don’t forget to apply these adjustments all around your building too, not just in the event space.
Do a bit of good old-fashioned fundraising – Whether you just have a bucket collection, a bake sale, or a sponsored event such a walk or bike ride, it will all be gratefully received by either the Down’s Syndrome Association, or a local Down’s syndrome group you want to support. The Down’s Syndrome Association have a great page on fundraising ideas and resource packs to get you started.
Whatever you get up to be sure to promote the day itself through your social media pages!
In 2017 the message was Lots of Socks! And there were socks, lots of them, everywhere! This year the message is “What I bring to my community” celebrating all the ways people with Down’s Syndrome make a difference to their communities. There’ll still be #LotsOfSocks though!
Go to the World Down Syndrome Day website to see how you can connect with their social media profiles to promote your events GLOBALLY! Or go to the UK’s Down’s Syndrome Organisation website, they both have great resources to help you on your way.