Scott Declares March 16-20 Down Syndrome Awareness Week

By  //  March 17, 2015

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Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Governor Rick Scott today issued a proclamation declaring Down Syndrome Awareness Week in Florida from March 16-20th.

Florida will be joining New Jersey’s 2015 Light the Way campaign this week, and the Florida Governor’s Mansion will be lit blue on the evening of Saturday, March 21, 2015 in recognition of Down syndrome cognitive research.

“We are proud to join Floridians across the state in recognizing Down Syndrome Awareness Week,” Governor Rick Scott said. “Individuals with Down syndrome are active participants in Florida businesses and communities, and deserve every opportunity to find a great job and have their shot at the American Dream. We will keep working everyday to provide these individuals with the support they need, and to increase opportunities for every person in Florida.”

Ann Scott
Ann Scott

“Down Syndrome Awareness Week serves as an important opportunity to recognize our family, friends and community members with Down syndrome,” First Lady Ann Scott said  I am honored to join New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie and First Spouses across the country in this awareness campaign by lighting the Governor’s Mansion blue on Saturday in recognition of the many incredible individuals with Down Syndrome and their families.”

Space Coast Daily Exclusive Q&A With Florida First Lady Ann ScottRelated Story:
Space Coast Daily Exclusive Q&A With Florida First Lady Ann Scott
Andy Gardiner
Andy Gardiner

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner said “People born with Down Syndrome have many unique abilities and can make a tremendous contribution to Florida’s workforce. By expanding career and education opportunities that help individuals with Down Syndrome fine-tune their own unique abilities, we can establish a pathway to economic independence that will help all people with unique abilities have a better quality of life.”

Steve Crisafulli
Steve Crisafulli

Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said, “President Gardiner and I are committed to finding ways for Floridians with Down syndrome to achieve economic independence to better their own lives and the lives of their families. I’m honored to join Governor Scott as we recognize these unique individuals.”

This week, families and health-care workers across Florida are encouraged to share their own research, knowledge and experiences with the public in order to raise awareness and encourage further research about one of the world’s most common chromosomal conditions, also known as Trisomy 21.

Down Syndrome Facts: (

  • Down syndrome has for too long been shrouded in fear and darkness; the facts are far better than the myths. Here are the facts.
  • Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality, occurring in approximately 1 in 900 births. More than 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome and thus have 47 chromosomes in every cell instead of 46. To date, medical researchers have not determined the cause. What is known is that Down syndrome occurs among all races, ethnic groups, nationalities, and socioeconomic classes. It also occurs evenly in boys and girls. It is important to realize that nothing that the mother or father does – or fails to do – before or during pregnancy, can cause Down syndrome.
  • Because chromosomes and the genetic information they carry determine how we grow and develop, the presence of an extra chromosome does affect a child in a number of ways. The word “syndrome” means that many different characteristics are seen together as a package. Some of these physical characteristics may include low muscle tone, eyes that appear to slant upward, a flat nasal bridge, extra skin folds at the back of the neck, relatively small nose and ears, a larger gap between the first and second toes, and a single horizontal crease on either palm. While these characteristics are more common in an individual with Down syndrome, they are features that can be seen in anyone in the general population.
  • Since people with Down syndrome have the extra chromosome, they have features that cause them to resemble other individuals with Down syndrome. However, because there are 46 completely normal chromosomes, individuals with Down syndrome will also resemble their parents, brothers and sisters, and will possess their own unique personality.


Current research indicates that the majority of people with Down syndrome have mild to moderate developmental delays. There is NO correlation between physical characteristics and cognitive abilities. Today, less than five percent of individuals with Down syndrome have severe to profound intellectual disabilities; the majority have only a mild to moderate intellectual disability. An intellectual disability means that a person does not just learn more slowly, but that she or he actually learns differently and develops different strategies and mechanisms for learning.

It is impossible, either prior to birth or early in life, to determine any person’s future strengths or weaknesses. Individuals with Down syndrome are lifelong learners and acquire new skills and talents when offered a variety of life experiences and opportunities. Just like their peers, they attend school, develop friendships, maintain jobs, participate in important personal decisions and make positive contributions to the community. People with Down syndrome are more like their nondisabled peers than they are different and they deserve the same opportunities.

Health Issues

Individuals with Down syndrome may have a greater incidence of health certain complications than that of the average person. Ongoing medical assessment with early detection and treatment are important.