March 21, 2017By Christine Giles, MS, CCC-SLP
World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated annually to raise awareness for Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a congenital disorder which is caused by the occurrence of an extra 21st chromosome. The day is celebrated in 60 countries, and the activities and events that are produced are meant to encourage independence, self-advocacy and freedom of choice for individuals that have Down syndrome.
One of the most important events occurring during World Down Syndrome Day is the Special Olympics Winter Games that are taking place in Austria. While there are many athletes competing, one athlete in particular, Ian Rawn, (age 34) from Plano, Texas, is turning heads. As an ice skater and choreographer of his own routines, Rawn plans on taking the Special Olympics by storm. Originally inspired by Tara Lipinski 1998 routine in the Winter Olympics in Japan, Rawn dreamed of becoming an ice skater. Despite facing challenges with balance and coordination (something that is common for a person with Down syndrome), Rawn has always embraced life to the fullest. He learned to ride a bicycle as a young boy, plays several sports, performed in theater, works at a financial company, and became a volunteer firefighter. Nothing can stand in his way! We can all be supporters of World Down Syndrome Day by watching Ian Rawn perform in the Winters Games on March 23rd.
Christine Giles, MS, CCC-SLP is a practicing therapist as well as the owner of Creative Therapy Works, LLC. She earned an undergraduate degree at The Florida State University with a major in Communication Disorders and a Master of Science degree from The University of Wyoming in Speech-Language Pathology. She has been actively practicing therapy in schools, pediatric hospitals, private settings, home health, rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing facilities since 2002.