World Down Syndrome Day

What is World Down Syndrome Day?

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is celebrated annually on the 21st of March and is a global awareness day that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

The date for WDSD is set on the 21st day of the 3rd month as a representation of the extra copy of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome that people with Down syndrome are born with.

World Down Syndrome Day 2023

Each year, Down Syndrome International (DSi) develops a theme for WDSD which forms the basis of a global campaign in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Down syndrome communities from across the globe come together to raise awareness and take steps towards full and effective participation and inclusion for people with Down syndrome across the globe.

The theme this year is “With Us Not For Us” and is focused on a human rights-based approach to disability – the right to be treated fairly, have the same opportunities as everyone else, and the freedom for people to make their own choices. We’re calling on all supporters and organisations to work #WithUsNotForUs to improve the lives of everyone with Down syndrome.

How can you help celebrate WDSD and raise funds? 

On Tuesday March 21st, we invite you to get all your friends, family, colleagues, schools and communities involved to raise awareness and some much-needed funds – let’s get people talking on World Down Syndrome Day. It’s really easy to join in!

Here are some ideas to get you started: 


Wear Lots of Socks

As WDSD approaches, you may hear people talking about socks, and there is a very good reason for this. The Lots Of Socks campaign exists to raise awareness about Down syndrome and some much-needed funds for Down Syndrome Ireland. Taking part is very easy. All you need to do is choose some socks that are going to get noticed – they can be mismatched socks or your craziest and most colourful socks, whatever takes your fancy and the brighter the better!

Ask your family, friends, students, or colleagues to wear colourful, eye-catching and/or mismatched fun socks on the 21st March. We have developed a LotsOfSocks poster for you to download and share. Please share your photos across social media using #LotsOfSocks4DSI and let your feet do the talking!

When someone asks you about your socks you can tell them, “I’m wearing them to raise awareness of Down syndrome and World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March”. Then you can tell them everything that you think they need to know about Down syndrome and encourage them to get involved and make a donation, if they are in a position to do so.

DONATIONS are always needed and welcome as Down Syndrome Ireland only receives 23% State Funding, and are heavily reliant on the generosity of the general public to continue providing essential support services to people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ireland.


21 Day Challenge 

Sign up for your own 21 Day challenge this March. You decide what your challenge will be and you can find all the information here.


Social Media

Please share your photos and videos with us at @DownSyndromeIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.  Use the DSI hashtag and the official WDSD hashtags in your social media posts to help spread awareness this World Down Syndrome Day with DSI – #LotsOfSocks4DSI #WorldDownSyndromeDay #WithUsNotForUs #WDSD2023 #ShareTheJourney.

Please ensure that you respect privacy when sharing photos, especially photos with minors. We advise you to follow your school or groups Data Protection policies prior to sharing on social media.


Down Syndrome Ireland Branches 

There will be lots of other events happening around the country across our 25 branches, creating their own unique events to celebrate and raise awareness about World Down Syndrome Day. You can follow our branches across social media to keep updated and show your support for the wonderful work being done by our members, families and volunteers.

Get talking! 

We want to get people talking and encourage schools and groups to celebrate in the days leading up to WDSD. Download our Primary School Student Information and teaching resources for your classroom or community group and let’s get everyone talking to raise awareness and much-needed funds.

Down Syndrome Ireland continues to serve our members and our Member Support Team – who offer advice, support and information for all ages – are on hand to help families with children and adults who have Down syndrome throughout Ireland.

In Ireland, we have been campaigning for the rights of our members and over many years we have made over 20 submissions to a wide and varied range of Government consultations. We have also participated in numerous pilot programmes and from the interaction at this governmental level we have put together a list of 21 Demands that represent what is effectively needed to bring Ireland towards a more inclusive society for people with Down syndrome across the country. 


Here are links to resources which will provide insights and opportunities for discussion:

  • The theme for World Down Syndrome Day 2023 is With Us Not For Us. Here you can find out more about what this means and how we can incorporate ‘With Us Not For Us’ in daily life.  
  • The Down Syndrome International network will host the 12th World Down Syndrome Day Conference (WDSDC) at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday 21st.
  • Education is the perfect first stepping stone in teaching children humility, humanity, and open-mindedness in working, learning, communicating, and playing with children with disabilities. The Inclusion Means 2022 school guide is designed to support teachers in the classroom and help with lesson plans around inclusion and representation. 
  • In this wonderful book Upside Down, The Story of My Brother James, Liadh Handley shares her experiences of growing up with a brother who has Down syndrome. The aim of the book is to teach children how to appreciate and respect those with Down syndrome.
  • …more than medical is a fascinating perspective that provides an insight into the realities of family life with a baby, child, teenager or adult with Down syndrome in today’s Ireland.
  • Positive, visible depictions of children with Down syndrome in a school or play environment are essential to support their inclusion and meaningful participation. This short children’s book Including Me was created by Graiguecullen Parish Childcare Centre.  
  • In celebration of our 50th year, we created a dedicated site that features people with Down syndrome from across Ireland – The UpSide campaign focuses on real issues that people with Down syndrome face and the value that including people with Down syndrome brings to the economy, society, and the spirit of the wider community. 
  • For a bitesize introduction to Down syndrome, World Down Syndrome International has produced this guidance document
  • For pointers on advocating on behalf of people with Down Syndrome, in line with this year’s theme of With Us, Not For us, please see this advocacy guide

On March 21st, we invite you to get all your friends, family and colleagues involved, let’s get people talking on World Down Syndrome Day. 


#WorldDownSyndromeDay #WDSD2023 #WithUsNotForUs #ShareTheJourney