October is Down Syndrome Awareness month

October marks National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. One in every 800 births results in Down Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that results in slight changes in the development of the body and brain. Some of those births occur right here in the area.

Parents of children with Down Syndrome, from newborns and up, come together once a month for support, camaraderie and education. They’ve heard from speech therapists, geneticists, music therapists and other parents. Their goal is to exchange ideas and better the lives of their children and their families.

The Down Syndrome Parent Support Group meets at Easter Seals Children’s Development Center, 650 N. Main St., Rockford, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month.

Common myths about Down Syndrome (taken from www.ndss.org):

Myth: Down Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.

Truth: Down Syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. Approximately 5,000 births per year in the United States alone result in Down Syndrome, and the disorder affects more than 350,000 people in the United States.

Myth: People with Down Syndrome are severely retarded.

Truth: Most people with Down Syndrome have IQs that fall in the mild to moderate range of retardation. Children with Down Syndrome are definitely educable, and educators and researchers are still discovering the full educational potential of people with Down Syndrome.

For more information on the Down Syndrome Parent Support Group, contact Pam Maher at 399-2805.

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