Today is National Down Syndrome Day. Right now, one in 700 children in the US are born with Down Syndrome. Over the years, more and more cases have been reported and now, a day is set aside as a way to focus on its awareness.
Simply put, Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder as a result of abnormal cell division during the fetus formation.
In 2009, the United Nations designated March 21st as ‘World Down Syndrome Day’. A lot has changed since that first celebration.
Executive Vice President of the Barber National Institute Maureen Barber-Carey says, “we probably would have celebrated persons with disability, celebrated with Down Syndrome, but there would not have been this major focus on Down Syndrome itself.”
But, now, we are talking about the disorder.
Dr. Barber says people with Down Syndrome are more like us than not like us.
“…They have every right to a full inclusion in education, inclusion in our community and employment and by focusing on this today, it promotes that level of inclusion.”
Dr. Barber pointed to a number of clients who have joined the workforce like Jeff Glecker. He’s been with the Barber National Institute since he was a child.
“He stayed for preschool, graduated from us and went to Erie School District and graduated, came to us as an adult and is employed in the community.”
You can find Jeff hard at work at Ember and Forge in Erie.
And, some of the many programs at the Barber National Institute are for the whole family.
“I think we should be celebrating for all of our families. Many of our families have challenges regardless of and we want to say all the time, we’re here for you.”
A promise kept now for 67 years with no end in sight.