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Days of Giveaways

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

They are active and valued participants and contributors in educational, social, occupational and recreational activities of the community; however, myths vs. facts continue to sometimes be muddled when it comes to Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month each October is designed to dispel unfounded stigmas as well as celebrate the achievements and abilities of those within the Down syndrome community. Locally, the East Lansing-based Capital Area Down Syndrome Association is hosting a regional Step Up for Down Syndrome walk from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 1 at Mount Hope Park, 7419 E. Mount Hope Highway in Grand Ledge.

The mile walk is one of 300 events held annually across the country focused on increasing funding and awareness for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. The local event will include light refreshments, socializing, outdoor games and playground fun. All proceeds from the event benefit the work of CADSA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports people with Down syndrome and their families in the mid-Michigan area by providing resources, education, advocacy and awareness.

To help raise awareness about Down Syndrome, the CADSA has compiled a fact sheet about the condition. Included among the information:

  • Down syndrome occurs 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.
  • Down syndrome is the most common genetic chromosomal disorder and cause of learning disabilities in children.
  • There are approximately 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
  • Down syndrome has nothing to do with race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion or anything the mother or father did during pregnancy.
  • 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4% and mosaicism accounts for about 1%.
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
  • Speech and language therapy are important parts of intervention services for children with Down syndrome that help promote cognitive and social development.
  • Many children with Down syndrome can develop reading abilities in advance of what might be expected for their cognitive and language levels.
  • Adults with Down syndrome are also at high risk for conductive hearing loss.
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades, from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.

For more information on the work and mission of CADSA, call 517-333-6655or email