10-year-old raises awareness for World Down Syndrome Day

Good Day Dakota

Although October is Down syndrome Awareness Month, March 21 marks the global awareness day because it recognizes the fact that Down syndrome is caused by trisomy 21, the triplication of the twenty-first chromosome.

Ten-year-old Keagen Spooner has that extra chromosome and wants people to know more about what it means.

“I go to Nedrose to talk to everybody in the gym,” Keagen said proudly.

Nedrose School currently doesn’t have any students with Down syndrome, so he and his mom, Dionne, paid a visit to give students a closer look at what it’s like to have it or be around it.

“Why are we talking to them?” Dionne asked her son, “We’re telling them about what?”
Keagen said, “We’ll talk about down syndrome, about the 47 chromosomes.”

He started with some fun facts about himself.
“I like to play with friends in the summer,” said Keagen. “And I love to go swimming in the lake and go fishing!”

He also likes to wrestle, and part of his message is that Keegan is far more like other kids than he is different, he enjoys just about all of the same things.

“Really our focus is getting to see someone with Down syndrome do the things that every other child does and know that even though it might take him a little bit longer or you might not know exactly what he says, you can ask him,” said Dionne.

(Dionne) “We want kids to know that it’s okay if you have Down Syndrome. Right?”
(Keagen) “Right!”
(Dionne) “We don’t want people to be afraid of kids with Down Syndrome, do we?”
(Keagen) “Nooo.”

One way to spread the word on World Down Syndrome Day is to wear mismatching socks. The socks are alike, they’re just a little bit different.

“In the world of disabilities, there has been a greater level of acceptance but I don’t think we have full inclusion yet,” Dionne added. “I think we tolerate at times, but I want to see more.”

Another way to participate in World Down Syndrome Day is to wear blue and yellow, the colors known to represent Down syndrome.

A big part of the Spooners’ message today and every day is the importance of taking the ‘R’ word out of everyday language.

The ‘R’ word can be hurtful and demeaning, and making that conscious effort to stop using it can go a long way.

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