LEXINGTON — In the spirit of October being Down Syndrome Awareness month, Lexington Public School students with Down Syndrome got a play date at the Dawson County Children’s Museum to celebrate their abilities and accomplishments.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21, it is usually associated with physical growth delays, mild to moderate intellectual disability and characteristic facial features. There is no cure but education and proper care can ensure those with Down syndrome can have an improved quality of life.
The syndrome is one of the most common chromosome abnormalities, occurring in one per 1,000 babies per year.
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During the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 10, several elementary students from Lexington with Down syndrome, as well as their parents and teachers, got the Dawson County Children’s Museum all to themselves for a play date.
Early Learning Academy teacher Robin Einspahr said the teachers have worked with most of these students since they were infants. She said it’s hard to see the students move on to elementary grades after having worked with them for so long.
Einspahr said the purpose of the play date was to give the students a chance to enjoy themselves in a environment all to themselves and give the parents a chance together to connect and support one another.
All of the students with Down syndrome have their own plans with specific goals, and the teachers and staff help the students to reach as many goals as they can. Sometimes students are a part of regular classes and then are given special help when it is needed by the staff.
Up with the Downs, a nonprofit which advocates for people with Down syndrome, said this on their website, “During the month of October, we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make people aware of our abilities and accomplishments. It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities. We can learn all about our history. We have a right to speak out about what it’s like to have Down syndrome and to learn the real story of people like us.”