World Down Syndrome Day 2024- History, Theme, Significance 

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World Down Syndrome Day

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day celebrated every year on 21 March. Officially recognized by the United Nations, this day has been celebrated since 2012. The primary aim behind this annual observance of World Down Day is to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by people with Down Syndrome. It also aims to lead to an all-inclusive world where everyone’s opinion matters. In 2024, the Down Syndrome International network will celebrate the 13th World Down Syndrome Day Conference (WDSDC) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Let’s learn more about this important day.

Name of the dayWorld Down Syndrome Day
Observed on21 March
Reason To raise awareness about the rights and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. 
Theme 2024End the Stereotype

What is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic condition spurred by an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are distinctive “parcels” of genes found in the human body. They decide how a baby’s body will look and function by controlling how it develops during pregnancy and after delivery.

The average newborn has 46 chromosomes. In newborns with Down syndrome, one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21, contains an extra copy. The medical term for having an extra copy of a chromosome is trisomy.

Down syndrome is often referred to as trisomy 21. This extra copy affects how the baby’s body and brain develop, which could cause problems with the baby’s mental and physical development. But, the real struggles and difficulties for the parent and child start when the baby is born.

Even though the “why” of this disorder or syndrome has never been fully understood, Down syndrome has always existed as a part of the human condition. It exists everywhere throughout the world and frequently has varying consequences on academic achievement, physical traits, and health.

Also Read: World Autism Day

Types of Down Syndrome

Langford Down, regarded as the “father” of the syndrome, first published an exact description of a person with this illness in the late nineteenth century. Scientists have discovered three distinct types of Down syndrome:

  1. Trisomy 21: This is a condition where an embryo has three chromosomes instead of two due to a nondisjunction error in cell division.
  1. Mosaicism: This happens when two different types of cells coexist, some of which have 46 and some have 47 chromosomes. The additional 21 chromosomes are found in those with 47.
  1. Translocation: This kind of translocation is comparatively less frequent. In this case, there are still 46 chromosomes, but an extra copy or part of the copy attaches to another chromosome.

History of World Down Syndrome Day

  • Down Syndrome Association Singapore started the official WDSD website. It was hosted from 2006 to 2010 on behalf of the Down Syndrome International (DSi)
  • The DSi partnered with the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome to launch massive campaigns and generate international support. 
  • On 10 November 2011, the resolution was finally adopted during the plenary meeting of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. 
  • DSI or Down Syndrome International filed a petition for the adoption of World Down Syndrome Day by the UN. It received over 12,000 signatures within a period of 2 weeks. 
  • On 19 December 2011, the General Assembly declared March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day. 
  • The first World Down Syndrome Day was observed in 2012.
World Down Syndrome Day

Also Read: World Health Day

Why is World Down Syndrome Day Celebrated on March 21?

Did you know why March 21 has been carefully chosen as World Down Syndrome Day? This is because the date 21 signifies the unique trisomy or triplication of the 21st chromosome which causes Down Syndrome. 

What is the Theme of World Down Syndrome Day 2024? 

Every year, Down Syndrome International (DSi) decides on a theme which forms the basis of the global campaign. The theme for World Down Syndrome Day 2024 is “End the Stereotype”. This day aims to promote the idea of inclusivity to ensure people with Down Syndrome do not feel left out or discriminated against in any aspect of their lives. This theme also urges people on a global level to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by people with this syndrome and make this world a better place for all. Here are the previous years’ themes:

Year Theme 
2024 End the Stereotype 
2023With Us Not For Us
2022Inclusion Means 
2021 Connect 

Also Read: World Stroke Day 2023: History, Theme, Significance

Why do we Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day?

Every year, 21st March is celebrated as World Down Syndrome Day to advocate for the rights of people diagnosed with Down Syndrome. 

  • To ensure that children with World Down Syndrome Day are provided with equal access to quality education. 
  • To ensure that they are not denied good healthcare facilities.
  • To ensure that their voices and opinions are heard as loudly as other citizens.
  • To ensure that they are not discriminated against by denying the chance to work and earn money. 
  • To increase awareness by informing people about this unusual disorder, for which not even scientists can provide a definitive rationale.
  • To raise awareness of the rights, inclusion, and support of those with Down syndrome.

Characteristics and Appearance

Every year, between 23,000 and 29,000 children are born in India with Down syndrome. Even if the statistics are concerning, there isn’t much open discussion about it in India. In India, cytogenetic problems affect roughly 1 in every 166 births, and 1 in every 830 newborns has Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome not only have physical traits but also developmental delays. They may or may not have all of these characteristics.


  • A Flattened face
  • Upward-slanting eyes
  • Excess skin on the back of the neck
  • Hypotonia (Lack of muscle tone)
  • Abnormally flexible joints
  • Unusual looking ears
  • Transverse palmer wrinkle on the palm
  • A large space between the first and second toes (sandal gap deformity) 


  • A short neck
  • Folds on the eyelids
  • A flattened nose bridge
  • Folded, odd or underdeveloped/undersized ears
  • A gaping mouth
  • A protruding tongue
  • A flattened skull in the back (Brachycephaly)
  • Short and broad hands.

Also Read: World Thinking Day

Down Syndrome Complications

Individuals with Down syndrome can face a range of disabilities. Although the majority of these consequences can be managed, some can be more serous than others.

  • Heart defects
  • Blood diseases like leukaemia (blood cancer)
  • Immune system issues
  • Stomach and digestive system problems
  • Hormone disorders
  • Bone problems
  • Intellectual disability
  • Hearing loss
  • Sleep apnea 

How to Extend Support and Care to People with Down Syndrome

You can extend your support and care to people diagnosed with Down syndrome in numerous ways. Even a simple thing such as listening to them is a big help. Here are a few more tips.

World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day

How to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

There are different ways to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. Below we have mentioned the most common and effective ideas for 2024.

World Down Syndrome Day
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Q1 What is the theme of World Down Syndrome Day for 2023?

Ans. The theme of World Down Syndrome Day for 2023 is “With Us Not for Us”.

Q2 Why is World Down Syndrome Day celebrated?

Ans. To change the world by educating people about the condition and increasing public awareness

Q.3 What are the colours designated for this World Down Syndrome Day?

Ans: Blue and Yellow

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