The main goal of Down syndrome understanding is to celebrate the diversity of life and promote the acceptance of families and individuals with the condition. Lobbyists ensure that adults with Down syndrome have equal opportunity access to housing, schooling and jobs.
Organizations, like the National Down Syndrome Society, have helped people with Down syndrome fight for their legal rights and lobby for better educational programs. At its core, Down syndrome awareness is about enabling everyone to achieve his or her full potential, despite a disability.
The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is "to benefit people with this disability and their families through national leadership in education, research and advocacy." They feel that everyone has the right to reach their potential and that people with such a disability should have the opportunity to make choices affecting their lives.
Part of Down syndrome knowledge is pushing for better educational programs to help children with Down syndrome achieve their goals. Through the organization, parents can collect valuable resources and connect with local support groups. Down syndrome children can link up with local programs sponsored in part by NDSS, where they can foster a love of art, music or sports and gain the necessary tools to live a relatively independent life.
In addition to Chris Burke, from "Life Goes On" and "Touched by an Angel," there are many other notable individuals with this disability who are ambassadors for Down Syndrome Awareness and serve as inspiration for Down syndrome children, adults and families. Actors include: Stephane Ginnsz (Duo), Max Lewis (Notes on a Scandal), Edward Barbanell (The Ringer) and award winner Paula Sage (AfterLife, BBC Scotland's River City soap).
Additionally, Joey Moss works as a locker room attendant for the Edmonton Oilers, Judith Scott works as an artist, Miguel Tomasin is the singer for the Argentinian rock band "Reynols" and Karen Gaffney works as a swimmer and motivational speaker. There are also people with such a disability who are children of famous people, like Isabella Pujols, the adopted daughter of the St. Louis Cardinal's first basemen, or Johnny Stallings, son of former University of Alabama football coach Gene Stallings.
Down Syndrome Awareness has brought great medical advances in just thirty short years. Every day doctors are learning more and more about how the condition works genetically, as therapists learn better techniques for teaching the developmentally disabled. Perhaps one day there will be a pre-natal treatment to remove the extra genetic material on chromosome 21, or perhaps children and adults with Down syndrome will just become more valued by society, thanks to organizations, methods of inclusion and awareness campaigns.
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