Wednesday, 21 March 2018

It's World Down Syndrome Day - what's with the socks?

Odd socks for Down's Syndrome Day

Today, many people will have been wearing odd socks for World Down Syndrome Day.  But what's it got to do with socks?

Here's some of the reason's I found when I googled it:

  • Chromosomes look like socks and people with Down's Syndrome have an extra chromosome.  Maybe?  What do you think? 
  • Socks come in pairs, as chromosome's do, but people with Down's Syndrome have an extra or odd one
  • Wearing different socks celebrates difference and inclusion
  • It's to grab attention so people who don't know about it can ask you about why you are wearing odd socks - a way of starting a conversation to raise awareness  and promote understanding

As a family with additional needs kids that are autistic and have ADHD, hypermobility and a few other things to, I'm familiar with them being misunderstood.  Being autistic is an integral part of who my boys are and in a way, who we are as a family. Anthony knows he has autism and ADHD. Despite having challenges though, I'm delighted that Anthony wouldn't change who he is. He is happy in his skin, although he wishes he didn't struggle sometimes.

Outwardly, people don't always understand the boys actions. I've apologised not for my kids, but to people who have been upset by their actions.  Their life will be better, better valued and easier if they are understood and accepted.

Whereas, by boys are often misunderstood due to their actions, people with Down's syndrome are sometimes misunderstood due to common myths. Here's some courtesy of Down's Syndrome Association.

Myth - People with Down’s syndrome all look the same

Fact - There are certain physical characteristics that can occur due to the genetic condition that is a partial or whole extra chromosome 21 (and hence why World Down's Syndrome Day is celebrated on 21st Day of the 3rd Month each year). Each person will have a number of the more common physical characteristics. A person with Down’s syndrome will always look more like his or her close family than someone else with the condition.

Myth - People with Down’s syndrome cannot achieve normal life goals

Fact - With the right support, they can. Increasing numbers of people with Down’s syndrome leave home and live with support in their communities. They gain employment, meet partners and can get the best out of life like anyone else.

Myth - People with Down’s syndrome are always happy and affectionate

Fact - We are all individuals and people with Down’s syndrome are no different to anyone else in their character traits and varying moods.

Dispelling myths, increasing understanding, awareness and more than just acceptance of Down's syndrome is what the Day was all about. Although I may still not know the truth behind why socks are worn on WDSD, I have at least shared some truths and raised a little awareness.

Of course, with my endless mess of washing, I never seem to have matching socks so it's not that different for me.

Here's some other blog posts you may like on the subject.  World Down Syndrome Day that is... none of them are about socks, because let's face it, that's not really what it's about:

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What is Autism?
It's so much I couldn't possibly try and explain. For us it's wonderful and heart-breaking. Joyous and truthful. But as far as diagnosis is concerned, why not have a look at the National Autistic Society for their definition of Autism.
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