Ending the stigma about Down’s syndrome

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Schools and communities across Fife have been urged to pull on their favourite pair of socks to back Down’s Syndrome Scotland’s awareness week.

Thursday, March 21 marks the UN recognised World Down’s Syndrome Day – and the society hopes its ‘Lots Of Socks’ fun event will chime with folk.

It’s just one of many ways to support the work of the only charity in Scotland focused solely on the needs of people with Down’s syndrome and their families.

On ‘Lots Of Socks’ day, it wants people to head to school or work wearing their most colourful; socks to help raise vital funds.

But if your sock drawer is grey or black, then there is the opportunity to host your own tea party as part of the ‘Tea for 21’ fundraising day, which also talks place on March. 21.

It’s a new event for 2017 and simply involves asking friends and families to host their own tea party on World Down’s Syndrome Day, inviting 21 guests, charging £2.10 for cakes or £21 for attendance ... or any denomination of 21!

There is also a text donation hotline – simply text DOWN21 £5 to 70070.

While making fundraising fun, there is also a serious message to the awareness week led by DSS.

It wants to raise the profile of one of the most frequently recognised but most misunderstood learning disabilities, as well as encouraging communities, schools and organisations to take the time to learn about Down’s syndrome.

Approximately 750 babies a year are born with Down’s syndrome in the UK each year.

It’s a genetic condition caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 inside some or all of the body’s cells.

There are three types of Down’s syndrome: the most common one is Trisomy 21 (95%), Translocation (4%) and Mosaic (1%).

Trisomy, occurs randomly at the point of conception and affects males and females alike.

One of the organisation’s key aims is to remove the stigma – and get greater inclusion in schools, the community and working environment.

The awareness week’s main theme is to help society see past Down’s syndrome.

‘Don’t just see Down’s syndrome,’ will assist in changing the public’s perception through a series of adverts on television across mainstream channels, as well as via social media and Video on Demand (VOD).

DSS will also be raising money through a series of bucket collections at leading Tesco’s stores, including South Queensferry on March 17, Kilmarnock on the 18th, and Corstorphine, Dundee South Road, Aberdeen Woodend, Forfar and Inverness on the 19th.

Pandora Summerfield, CEO of Down’s Syndrome Scotland said: ‘‘There has always been a stigma surrounding Down’s syndrome, which is largely due to a lack of understanding.

‘‘Our awareness week helps to address this by encouraging the public to discover more about Down’s syndrome, dispelling myths and exposing people to accurate, well researched information. The campaign also plays a vital role in raising funds to help us to support people with Down’s syndrome, so they can lead happy, fulfilling, independent lives.”

Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides information, support and services for people with Down’s syndrome, their families, carers and those with a professional interest. It also seeks to improve awareness, knowledge and understanding within society.

>> To find out more about how you can support Down’s Syndrome Scotland please visit Down’s Syndrome Scotland