Every October marks Down Syndrome Awareness Month where individuals, businesses and advocacy groups promote inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome within the workplace and society.
The Getting Hired team is celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month throughout October to help spread awareness on these individuals’ abilities and accomplishments within the workplace.
What is Down syndrome and how prevalent is it?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition, with approximately one in every 700 babies (about 6,000) in the U.S. are born with it every year.
Down syndrome is caused when a person is born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This results in varying degrees of cognitive delays with most having mild to moderate delays in physical and cognitive development.
Individuals with Down syndrome are at a higher risk of some medical conditions, but with support from their family, friends and community are able to lead positive and productive lives. They can attend school, work, vote and make many other valuable contributions to society.
Spreading this message and raising awareness of the potential of people with Down syndrome is one of the key goals of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
What organizations are run by individuals with Down syndrome?
Individuals with Down syndrome are increasingly participating in the workplace and society. Here are some of the organizations created or inspired by individuals with Down syndrome that have recently caught Getting Hired’s eye:
1. Sweet Heat Jam Co. was created by Nolan who happens to have Down syndrome. Nolan’s business has grown to produce over 5,000 jars of jam a year. Sweet Heat Jam also started a culinary program to help other young adults with intellectual disabilities!
2. Collettey’s is changing the world, one cookie at a time. Collette is an individual with Down syndrome and after being turned down in many job interviews, she decided to pursue her passion for baking. She now employs 13 individuals with disabilities and speaks frequently about how the disability community is often overlooked.
3. Da Bomb was created by Morgan Tibbens who is a young woman with Down syndrome who is active in the Special Olympics, Best Buddies and opened Da Bomb to sell bath tub fragrances.
4. John’s Crazy Socks is a father-son business with a social and retail mission of spreading happiness in the world. Check out John’s Crazy Socks to meet John, a young man with Down syndrome who believes in giving back as his business donates five percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics!
5. Brittany’s Baskets of Hope is dedicated to supporting families in welcoming a new baby with Down syndrome into their lives. The mission is to provide guidance and information for parents and gifts for siblings.
6. Megology was created by Megan Bomgaars, who is an artist, entrepreneur and public speaker. Her products include t-shirts that feature her motto of “Don’t limit me.”
7. Group Hug Apparel was started by Andrew Banar who has Down syndrome and other associated health issues. Andrew wanted to raise money to go to college so he started with a lemonade stand but his mom encouraged him to use his rock & roll drawings on printed t-shirts instead and they grew from there!
8. Poppin Joe’s Gourmet Kettle Corn was established by Joe, a young adult with Down syndrome who wanted to have his own business. With the support of his family, you can find Joe’s kettle corn in Walmart, fairs and more in Kansas and Georgia!
9. Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is more than just a cup of coffee. The Wrights have four children with the youngest Bitty and Beau both have Down syndrome. Bitty & Beau’s coffee continues to grow with their third shop opening this month and they currently employ 60 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
10. Blake’s Snow Shack started with snow cones and then it snowballed to nationwide media attention of Blake Pyron and his ambition to own his own business and not be held back by his Down syndrome.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has great workforce programs for individuals with Down syndrome. Learn more about their #DSWorks Employment program and their success stories of individuals with Down syndrome becoming successful designers, customer service representatives, business owners and more!
How can I support individuals with Down syndrome?
Your business can get involved in many ways to promote and support individuals with Down syndrome in the workplace throughout October.
For more information on how you can support individuals with Down syndrome in the workplace, follow Getting Hired on Twitter or contact our team for additional support.