For example, Think College offers resources to help individuals with intellectual disabilities find trade schools as well as two- and four-year colleges that will meet their needs. A number of companies seek to hire employees with disabilities, including Panera Bread, Lowes, and Target. And there are a growing number of people with Down syndrome represented on television and in movies, including Lauren Potter of Glee. The stunning Madeline Stuart has made in roads for individuals with Down syndrome in professional modeling. Children with Down syndrome are increasingly appearing in advertising, spurred on by efforts by organizations like Changing the Face of Beauty, which aims for increasing inclusivity in advertising and the media.
Thanks to organizations like the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, there’s an increasing amount of ongoing research into ways to further improve the health and well-being of people with Down syndrome. Research funded by Global Down Syndrome Foundation at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome titled “Trisomy 21 Consistently Activates the Interferon Response” and recently published in eLife, suggests that people with Down syndrome may consistently have an immune response to an infection they do not have, which could contribute to some of the symptoms of Down syndrome.
“WHEN YOU LOOK AT INTELLIGENCE NOT AS A TEST SCORE OR AN IQ, YOU SUDDENLY BECOME A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE IN TERMS OF HOW YOU LOOK AT ALL PEOPLE AND THEIR CAPABILITIES.”
Sie Whitten tells Romper that there are FDA-approved drugs that could help counteract the effects of this immune response , which will be tested in continued research. This kind of research for Down syndrome was relatively new when Sie Whitten’s daughter was born. She tells me that, in fact, Down syndrome research of any sort was lacking. At the time, “Down syndrome was the least funded [known] genetic condition at the National Institute of Health,” she says.