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World Down Syndrome Day...What Have Socks Got To Do With It?

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, or WDSD, sport your most colorful and creative socks on 3/21. But what have socks got to do with it??? People with Down Syndrome have a third copy of the 21st chromosome. The karyotypes, or complete set of chromosomes, happen to look like socks when viewed under a microscope! Check out the image below! Wearing colorful socks also represents the many unique attributes of people with Down Syndrome.

An image of brightly colored chromosomes - two each for the first 20 pairs, and the  21st group of chromosomes has three. A purple arrow points to the 21st grouping.

And in case you'd like a few more fun facts on the day, March 21st, or 3/21 was chosen as WDSD to represent the third copy of the 21st chromosome!

This year's theme of WDSD is With Us, Not For Us. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls for everyone to have the freedom to make their own choices, however, people with Down Syndrome often have individuals doing things for them, not with them. The UN calls for full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in making choices that direct their lives, and for inclusion and equal opportunities.

So while wearing some crazy socks today might be fun, keep the spirit of the day alive throughout the year by being an ally for people with Down Syndrome. You can do this by...

  • Involving people with Down Syndrome in decisions about their lives

  • Advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities in life and school

  • Challenging ableist belief systems that assume people with disabilities are unable to benefit from the same opportunities offered to others without question

A few years ago, my sister-in-law and her husband welcomed their beautiful daughter, Loxley, into the world. Loxley happens to have Down Syndrome. In just a few short years, Loxley has enriched their lives in so many ways. Today is a day to celebrate Loxley and others with Down Syndrome, in recognition of the many gifts and talents they bring to the world. So, let's take WDSD further than socks by committing to true membership, participation, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all facets of life.

Anybody can wear socks for a day...what will you do to work WITH people with disabilities and not FOR them? This is the true spirit of World Down Syndrome Day.

** In honor of WDSD, empowerED will be donating $3.21 of t-shirt sales today to the Montgomery County Down Syndrome Interest Group. Support the cause here!

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