Celebrate Differences Today on Down Syndrome Day
The Down Syndrome Association of St. Louis, based in University City, is spending today educating the public.
Megan Layton is a busy woman. She has a job, she is practicing for her role in a production of Annie and she is learning Italian for her trip to Italy this fall.
Layton, 31, also has Down Syndrome.
She is a board member for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis and acts as a self-advocate. In that role, she goes out into the community—mostly schools—to talk about Down Syndrome and her day to day life.
Today is World Down Syndrome Day.
"I talk about who I am and what I am," she said. "I talk about disability but I make it fun for them and fun for myself."
Layton said she likes to go talk to children and she hopes that her visits are making a difference. She talks about her favorite music and movies and how much she likes basketball and volleyball.
"Even though we are all the same, we are different," she said. "You make mistakes. I make mistakes. That's what I try to tell people."
Layton loves to talk. She said giving back to her community is one of her favorite things to do.
"I think if you go out and try to make a difference for others, you will make a difference for you," she said.
To that end, Layton savors her role on the DSAGSL board and participating in events around the area to bring awareness to Down Syndrome.
In the Greater St. Louis Area, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis will celebrate World Down Syndrome Day Thursday with the community on Facebook, through area celebrations and with an appearance on KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis.
March 21, 2013, is the seventh annual World Down Syndrome Day, the second official date since it was recognized by the United Nations last year.
People with Down syndrome, their families, friends, teachers, coworkers and supporters will be celebrating across the globe. Celebrated on the 21st day of the third month of the year, the date is symbolic of the third copy of the 21st chromosome that characterizes Down syndrome.
Layton said she lives every day just trying to be herself.
"I love to experience life," she said. "I just try to be who I am and I try to make things better. If you make things better for others, it makes things better for you."
For more information on the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, see the organization's web site.