World Down Syndrome Day this Wednesday

Press Release – New Zealand Down Syndrome Association

Wednesday 21 March (21/3) is World Down Syndrome Day, and this year it will be celebrated in high style at Government House, Wellington at an event hosted by the NZDSA patron and Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.Monday 19 March, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: World Down Syndrome Day 7th Annual Global Celebrations Kick off in New Zealand this Wednesday.

Wellington, New Zealand Down Syndrome Association.

Never has a cuppa had more significance.

Wednesday 21 March (21/3) is World Down Syndrome Day, and this year it will be celebrated in high style at Government House, Wellington at an event hosted by the NZDSA patron and Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae.

At the T4T reception on Wednesday afternoon, three national achievement awards will be presented to recognise the achievements of people with Down syndrome. They include an Olympic swimmer from Auckland; a Bunning’s employee and valued community member from Whangarei; and an Olympic skier, swimmer and long-time employee of the IHC Library from Wellington.

The NZDSA has adopted the concept of tea parties, or the increasingly fashionable high tea, as a signature event to promote World Down Syndrome Day, and raise awareness of Down syndrome in the New Zealand community. As with other momentous occasions, the first formal celebrations in the world will be held in New Zealand.

Families around the country will hold celebrations in their communities, which kicked off with the Buddy Walk in Auckland last weekend, and will include a potluck dinner in Palmerston North.

World Down Syndrome Day will also be celebrated for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The celebrations will be accompanied by the conference ‘Building our Future’, and addresses by UN dignitaries and key Down syndrome advocates from around the world.

You can show your support on World Down Syndrome Day by:
• Supporting a T4T fundraiser – http://www.everydayhero.co.nz/event/nzdsa2012_T4T_function
• Voting for the NZDSA in the Sovereign Sunshine March online sponsorship programme http://www.sovereignsunshine.co.nz

What: World Down Syndrome Day celebrations
When: Wednesday 21 March, 3pm
Where: Government House, Wellington accompanied by events around the country.

About Down syndrome
Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition, being universally present across racial, gender or socio-economic lines, and affecting approximately 1 in 750 live births, although there is considerable variation worldwide. Down syndrome is a lifelong condition that causes delays in learning and development. The delays can be reduced with the right help and with a positive accepting attitude from other people.

About World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day was established by Down Syndrome International in 2006 and has been observed in more than 60 countries worldwide to date. It is held on 21 March (21/3) to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of chromosome 21 which causes the genetic condition.
The aim is to raise awareness and understanding about Down syndrome, and to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome to enjoy full and dignified lives and be active and valuable participants in their communities and society.

A resolution to designate 21/3 as “World Down Syndrome Day”, to be observed every year beginning in 2012, was adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011. The resolution was proposed and promoted by Brazil, and co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States. From 2012 onwards, the date will be celebrated by all 192 UN countries.

About T4T
What are T4T events and why are we calling it T4T?
T4T is a catchy title for a concept which is centred on tea parties. Tea 4 Trisomy 21 refers to the third copy of chromosome 21 and the date of World Down Syndrome Day. T4T is the NZDSA’s recognised brand name to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and we hope that all our supporters will participate in these events.
T4T parties will be an opportunity to raise awareness of Down syndrome in the community. It will also be a fundraising event as guests at the tea party will be encouraged to give a donation.
How can you help?
By hosting a tea party and inviting friends. You can host a tea party in your home, your work place, the local café, a school hall – the options are endless. Your tea party can be simple or posh! You could serve just a cuppa, or tea and biscuits or even an English High Tea. If you don’t drink tea, coffee or soft drinks are just as good. You could even ask friends to bring a plate.
How will hosting a T4T party benefit people with Down syndrome?
The tea party will create greater awareness about Down syndrome which will promote greater community participation. The donations the NZDSA receives will provide much needed funds to provide information and support to families/whānau of people with Down syndrome and to support the NZDSA to enable people with Down syndrome to be fully included in their community.

ENDS

Down syndrome – what to say (and what not to say)

When speaking about issues relating to Down syndrome in a way that is both factually accurate and inoffensive to the general public, including people with Down syndrome and their families, please consider the table below.

We are sure you share our concerns so please take a minute to check that your copy is in line with the following language guidelines and that you are not perpetuating any myths about the condition.

DO NOT SAY DO SAY
Mongol Person/baby/child with Down syndrome
Suffers from OR is a victim of Down syndrome Has Down syndrome
A Downs baby/person/child A person/baby/child with Down syndrome or who has Down syndrome
Retarded/mentally handicapped/backward Learning disability
Disease/illness/handicap Condition OR genetic condition
Downs (as an abbreviation) DS (as an abbreviation if necessary)
MYTHS FACTS
People with Down syndrome do not live very long. Today, people with Down syndrome can look forward to a long life.
Only older mothers have babies with Down syndrome. Although older mothers have a higher individual chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, more are born to younger mothers, reflecting the higher birth rate in this age group.
People with Down syndrome cannot achieve normal life goals. With the right support, they can. The vast majority of people with Down syndrome learn to walk and talk, and many are now attending mainstream schools, passing exams and living full, semi-independent adult lives.
People with Down syndrome all look the same. There are certain physical characteristics that can occur. People with Down syndrome can have all of them or none. A person with Down syndrome will always look more like his or her close family than someone else with the condition.
People with Down syndrome are always happy and affectionate. We are all individuals and people with Down syndrome are no different to anyone else in their character traits and varying moods.

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