WVCSD celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

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WVCSD celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

March 26, 2021

Warwick Valley Central School District celebrated World Down Syndrome Day on March 19 to build awareness and teach inclusion. World Down Syndrome Day is officially celebrated on March 21, because March is the third month and the 21st was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

“We celebrated World Down Syndrome Day to teach our students about inclusion and how important it is to be a good friend,” said Sanfordville speech-language pathologist Amanda Undersinger. “During my group sessions, we read ‘This is Ella’, a book about a young girl with Down syndrome. While reading we discussed and kept track of our similarities and differences. The students were excited to see that at the end of the book their similarities outnumbered the differences.  Everyone agreed that most of us all love to be included when playing with friends.”

Sanfordville teachers and staff participated by wearing colorful or mismatched socks because the three chromosomes look almost like socks. One of the activities the students enjoyed was making their own tie-dyed socks. Other lessons stressed how we all have characteristics that make us alike in some ways and different in others, and that it’s okay to be different.

Some classes read the book: “More Alike Than Different: A Down Syndrome Awareness Tale”, including Erin Boyle’s second-grade class.

“We made a list of the many ways we are the same and different including our personal interest and physical traits,” Ms. Boyle said. “The kids worked on expressing their similarities and differences through the form of dancing, something we have found to be a common interest to all the students and adults in our classroom.”

 Lorna Nyland’s class also read the book about Down syndrome. Then they completed an activity to show how everyone in the class is alike in many ways, but everyone also has their own interests.  Students stood in a circle and then students with a certain trait, like those who had brothers, would step into the center of the circle. Different students ended up in the circle when other traits, such as liking swimming, were picked.

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that is present across racial and gender lines worldwide.   

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