Down syndrome sociological and cultural aspects

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Sociological and Cultural Aspects

Advocates for people with Down syndrome point to various factors, such as special education and parental support groups to make life easier for parents. There are also strides being made in education, housing, and social settings to create environments which are accessible and supportive to people with Down syndrome. In most developed countries, since the early twentieth century many people with Down syndrome were housed in institutions or colonies and excluded from society. However, since the early 1960s parents and their organizations (such as MENCAP), educators and other professionals have generally advocated a policy of inclusion,[1] bringing people with any form of mental or physical disability into general society as much as possible. In many countries, people with Down syndrome are educated in the normal school system; there are increasingly higher-quality opportunities to mix special education with regular education settings.

Despite this change, reduced abilities of people with Down syndrome can pose a challenge to parents and families. Although living with family is preferable to institutionalization, people with Down syndrome often encounter patronizing attitudes and discrimination in the wider community.

The first World Down Syndrome Day was held on 21 March 2006. The day and month were chosen to correspond with 21 and trisomy respectively. It was proclaimed by Down Syndrome International.[2] In the United States, the National Down Syndrome Society observes Down Syndrome Month every October as "a forum for dispelling stereotypes, providing accurate information, and raising awareness of the potential of individuals with Down syndrome."[3] In South Africa, Down Syndrome Awareness Day is held every October 20.[4]


  1. Inclusion. National Down Syndrome Society. Retrieved 2006-05-21.
  2. "World Down Syndrome Day". Retrieved 2006-06-02.
  3. National Down Syndrome Society
  4. Down Syndrome South Africa

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