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The Rewards of Down Syndrome and Diversity

October 3, 2011

In addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also Diversity Awareness Month.  Today, we take a closer look at a recent story from about David and Annelies Reilly of Boxborough, Massachusetts and their daughter Melissa, who has Down syndrome. Now 25 years old, Melissa is a college student and international speaker who travels as a representative of the Down syndrome community inspiring others.  She is a gold medalist, Special Olympian who competes in skiing, cycling and swimming; an intern for a Massachusetts state senator, and tutors pre-school students with Down syndrome in math and reading. Melissa and her family’s story supports recent findings by Children’s Hospital Boston that “suggest the reality of Down syndrome is positive for a vast majority of parents, siblings and people with Down syndrome themselves.” Seventy-nine percent of the parents and guardians surveyed by Children’s Hospital reported “their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with Down syndrome.”

 “Their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with Down syndrome.”

Dr. Brian Skotko, a clinical fellow in genetics at Children’s Hospital and lead study author, surveyed more than 3,000 Down syndrome patients and family members for his recent study. He hopes that the research published  in the October edition of the American Journal of Medical Genetics will serve to better inform expectant parents and clinicians providing prenatal care on the outlook of having a child with Down syndrome. Dr. Skotko says, “These results will be quite shocking to many Americans, who might have some misperceptions about what it means to have Down syndrome. Family members have spoken and have said life is positive with Down syndrome.” To read the full article, click here>>

Now in its 13th year, we are pleased to introduce The Institute for Leading Diversity and Inclusion, an accelerated educational program that enables leaders inside and outside the office of diversity to develp core competencies for effectively recognizing and leveraging diversity and inclusion as a key driver of business results. To learn more about the Institute, call 781-402-5555.


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