The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), a human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, will soon bring together community leaders, self-advocates, parents and employers to launch their latest campaign – Law Syndrome. NDSS’ Law Syndrome campaign will help launch October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Law Syndrome directly addresses the challenges faced by people with Down syndrome who desire to fulfill career goals, get married and live independent, productive lives. However, by doing so, individuals often jeopardize critical government support such as healthcare, housing and education.
The current system is plagued by outdated laws, created at a time when our society was less accepting of individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities. These laws often discourage people with Down syndrome from following their dreams and enhancing their quality of life. Thus, NDSS is leading a national effort to showcase to the world that Down syndrome doesn’t stop people with Down syndrome – instead, it’s Law Syndrome that holds them back.
“Individuals with Down syndrome are disincentivized from pursuing meaningful careers because of the fear of losing access to live-saving benefits like Medicaid,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “NDSS, by launching Law Syndrome, is calling on our leaders in the United States Congress to join our efforts to reform these complex laws and help us change Law Syndrome.”
Currently, the poverty rate for working age people with disabilities is 22.3 percent higher than those without disabilities. Despite the intent of key civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, individuals with Down syndrome still face barriers to living as full contributors to their communities.
“Employment is a human right, and that is why NDSS is proud to launch Law Syndrome,” said Weir.
Not only are people with Down syndrome living longer, healthier and more productive lives, but they are also more integrated into the fabric of society than ever before. Many pursue post-secondary education programs, get married and obtain rewarding employment. NDSS’ Law Syndrome campaign will break down barriers that unfairly prevent people with Down syndrome from pursuing the American dream.
The new campaign aims to shed light on misconceptions that are not addressed by current federal public policy. NDSS’ Law Syndrome campaign will help give all individuals with Down syndrome, their families, the disability community at large, and the general public a voice in confronting these dated beliefs. NDSS has produced a multifaceted public service announcement, including a video, creative pieces and a website, to provide a platform for the public to encourage United States Congressional leaders to act.
For more information on the Law Syndrome campaign or to get involved, please visit www.lawsyndrome.org
Exceptional Parent Magazine; October 2017