World Down Syndrome Day – 21 March 2015

People with Down syndrome are odd looking, weird and they are definitely not normal like us. This is the thoughts of many ignorant people…to that, we at I Can! ask what is normal???? There is no such thing, we are all made to be unique and special and there is nobody else like you!

Whether you are black or white, fat or skinny, have big feet or tiny hands… people should embrace their differences and limitations and be more accepting of others. We should celebrate the strengths of ourselves, as well as others.

Individuals with Down Syndrome have a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 and they have physical characteristics such as low muscle tone, small stature and an upward slant to the eyes. They also experience varying degrees of cognitive delays, from very mild to severe, most delays however, are mild to moderate.

Yes, this condition does affect their quality of life as they have certain limitations, but more so the attitudes and ignorance of people are their biggest disability. With the right support and encouragement these individuals, as with any individual, can aspire to reach their dreams. There are people with Down Syndrome who have become actors, Paralympic athletes and even artists. The possibilities are endless if given the chance.

The 21st of March marks Human Rights Day in South Africa, but we also celebrated Odd Socks day which is held to raise awareness about Down Syndrome. Our learners enjoyed dressing up in their odd socks and letting their “freak flag” fly so to speak.

I would just like to end off this article by saying different is normal, everybody has something that makes them unique and sets them apart from everybody else! Accept it! Embrace it! Love it!

Odd socks. They may be odd, but they are still socks!

Nikki McMahon
Academy Supervisor