I work in an office with 160 staff- what a perfect place to start, but with the people I work and interact with, every day. Here is a copy of an email I sent to my floor in a government office, this afternoon.
October is World Down syndrome awareness month!
As many of you may not be aware, my 8 month old son Parker has Down syndrome.
I’ve put together these facts for you,
to make surprised and interested noises over,
on your lunch break while you enjoy your sandwich.
The average maternal age at the birth of a baby with Down syndrome, is 28. (This included me!)
For those who choose to prenatally test, non-invasive pre-natal testing (Known as a 12 week NT test) is only 60% accurate.
80% of mothers at the time of birth are under the age of 28, as women tend to have their babies younger, even though the odds of having a baby with Down syndrome increase with maternal age.
1 in 660 births result in a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome, and 92%, like Parker, have Trisomy 21 (an extra chromosome containing 300+ genes, present in every cell line on the 21st Chromosome, resulting in a total of 47 instead of 46).
This event, known as mitosis, is entirely random and has no prenatal factors or contributors apart from maternal age. It occurs evenly across ALL demographics.
In 1929, the life expectancy for a baby with Down syndrome was 10 years old.
When I was born, back in 1984, the life expectancy for my peers born with Down syndrome was 25 years.
The average life span of a child born in 2013 (Parker’s age) is 58 and rising yearly as medical intervention, education, knowledge, and acceptance increases.
There are no ‘high or low’ functioning children- just children with a different set of medical issues which may present more frequently in a child with Trisomy 21.
Children with Down syndrome are way more like their family members, than they are similar to each other.
How will you be displaying inclusivity and supporting your community this month?