THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 14, 1993
NATIONAL DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH, 1993
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Down syndrome, the most common genetic birth defect associated with mental retardation, affects 4,000 babies a year from all ethnic and societal backgrounds. As little as twenty years ago, people with Down syndrome were stigmatized or, all too frequently, institutionalized. Now, happily, they are benefitting from important advances in research, education, and health care.
Over the past two decades, scientists have applied the technology of molecular genetics and other sciences to the study of Down syndrome. Researchers are looking for the genes, or combination of genes, on chromosome 21 that have a relationship to the development of intelligence and the physical disorders associated with Down syndrome. They are also looking for a possible relationship between Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease.
There is a wide variation in mental abilities, behavior, and physical development in individuals with Down syndrome. However, individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, early intervention, special education, mainstreaming, appropriate medical care, and positive public attitudes -- all made possible through the efforts of researchers, service providers, physicians, teachers, and parent support groups. In addition, such government agencies as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute on Aging, components of the National Institutes of Health; the Maternal and Child Health Bureau; and the President's Committee on Mental Retardation have worked in concert with private organizations like the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society to help those affected by this congenital disorder.
To help promote greater understanding of Down syndrome, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 92, has designated the month of October 1993 as "National Down Syndrome Awareness Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1993 as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I invite all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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