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.

What is happening for World Down Syndrome Day 2022?

This year to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day the global Down syndrome community has picked a theme, the theme for March 21st, 2022 is: “What Does Inclusion Mean?

Around the world, it is widely accepted that everyone should have the same opportunities as each other, be able to go to the same places, take part in the same activities and enjoy the same experiences in life without limitations. Unfortunately, the reality for some people with Down syndrome is not as inclusive as it should be, as the general principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) call for: “Full and effective participation and inclusion in society”.

In Ireland, we have been campaigning for the rights of our members and over the past 5 years we have submitted over 20 submissions to a wide and varied range of Government consultations. In celebration of our 50th year, we created a dedicated site that features people with Down syndrome from across Ireland – TheUpSide campaign focuses on real issues and facts that people with Down syndrome face, the campaign shows the value that including people with Down syndrome brings to the economy, society, and the spirit of the wider community. 

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. 

We encourage communities, schools, clubs, companies and individuals to choose their own activities and events to celebrate WDSD and to help raise awareness of this very special celebration. Together we can challenge perceptions of Down syndrome and enable people with Down syndrome to speak up, be heard, and be respected as valued members of society as they strive to achieve their goals and pursue their passions. 

How can you help celebrate WDSD and raise awareness? 

We encourage everyone to raise awareness about WDSD in their school, community, club or workplace to get people talking about Down syndrome and help people #SeeTheAbility.  

It’s easy to do so come on, join in! Here are some ideas to get you started: 


Virtual Purple Run

Sign up for your own Purple Run challenge this March. Registration and T-shirt are FREE to all participants.


Wear Lots Of Socks 

Ask your family, friends, students, or colleagues to wear colourful, eye-catching and/or mismatched fun socks on the 21st March. The brighter and crazier the better! We have developed a LotsOfSocks poster for you to download and share. 

Donations are always needed and welcome.

Please share your photos and videos with us at @DownSyndromeIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 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 – #LotsOfSocks #WorldDownSyndromeDay #WDSD2022 #ShareTheJourney #InclusionMeans

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.

Get talking! 

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


Here are some insightful books you can download which can provide opportunities for discussion:

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. 

The theme for World Down Syndrome Day 2022 is Inclusion Means, but what and how exactly does that work? This easy-to-read and step-by-step guide is designed to educate children and adults who do not understand what ‘inclusion’ means or how to be ‘inclusive’.

The Inclusion Means Advocacy guide 2022 has been developed to highlight how important it is to share with the wider community the needs, desires and struggles that people with Down syndrome face in their everyday lives. It features useful tips on how to get active on social media, what to say and how to linking in with advocacy groups for further support.   

In this wonderful book Upside Down, The Story of My Brother James written by Liadh Hanley. Liadh 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.  



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 #WDSD2022 #SeeTheAbility #ShareTheJourney #InclusionMeans