World Down Syndrome Day 2024

18 Mar 2024


The 21st of March is World Down Syndrome Day, and for 2024, the theme is "End the Stereotypes." Stereotypes are more than just harmful; they are barriers. They shape people's perspectives, usually with negative consequences.

Every single person is different, and that is the same for each person with Down syndrome. No one person looks the same, has the same likes or dislikes, has the same interests, or has the same skills. It is common for people with Down syndrome to be treated like children and underestimated in their ability to work or be involved in the community. So, exclusion occurs in different areas of society.

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of listening to Julie Fisher talk about her experiences raising a beautiful boy who also happens to have Down syndrome. Her recounts showed that our perception of people is learned, shaped by society and its view of normal, and not something we are born with. The kids around him treated Darcy, Julie's son, like an equal. Darcy's brothers' friends treated him just as they treated his brothers. It was adults that saw Darcy as different; it was adults that would make Darcy feel uncomfortable. Stereotypes can prevent people from building their thoughts and views, causing them to rely on untrue and discriminatory information.

Julie's message is one smile changes everything. A smile opens the eyes, it projects positivity, and can instantly change the way a person can feel and break down barriers. To teach people to judge others based on their ability, and the stereotypes they have been taught to believe would be to ignore the fact we are all human. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness. Julie's words will stay with us for a very long time.

Find the range of books Julie has written about her experience with Darcy here

There are so many ways to be involved in World Down Syndrome Day and beyond. Head to their website to find a way you can make a positive difference.