Illinois Senate Lawmakers recognized the significance of the state’s population of people who have Down syndrome this week by declaring March 21, 2019, Illinois Down Syndrome Day. Senate Resolution 239 sponsored by Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) aims to raise public awareness of Trisomy 21 and the positive impact those in this unique population have on the rest of the world.
“The intent behind the awareness day is to help more people become aware of the positive impact people with Down syndrome have on our society,” said Senator Schimpf. “Individuals with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, have meaningful relationships, vote, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
Inclusiveness facilitates the participation of individuals with Down syndrome in society and helps them fulfill their personal potential. Over the past several decades, adequate access to healthcare, early intervention programs, inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, have proven vital to the growth and development of individuals with Down syndrome, however, more work needs to be done.
An awareness day such as this will help us continue to work toward a world of greater mutual respect and inclusion for people and families impacted by the chromosomal anomaly.
About Down syndrome
Down syndrome occurs in 1 out of every 700 to 1,000 births. It happens when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
Trisomy 21 affects all races and ethnicities in all parts of the world and according to the Center for Disease Control, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has increased by 30 percent over the past 40 years. Illinois Down Syndrome Day corresponds with World Down Syndrome Day.
Senator Schimpf presents the bill on the Senate floor. To the left are Senate staffer Alex Williams and her son Harrison, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.