End The Stereotypes

WDSD 2024 theme:

The WDSD theme is the message that we are asking supporters around the world to share on and around 21 March.

For World Down Syndrome Day 2024, we call for people around the world to

End The Stereotypes



Watch this video to learn about stereotypes and why they stop us from living the lives we want to live.

This video was planned and recorded by members of the Down Syndrome International network.

Scroll down to read about their experiences of stereotypes.

Stereotypes are harmful!

For people with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities, stereotypes can stop us from being treated like other people. We get treated like children, we are underestimated and we are excluded. Sometimes we are treated very badly or even abused.

These are real examples of stereotypes in action…

Andrew – New Zealand

I used to work at a primary school. I was hoping to help with the school newsletters on the office computer. I presented my CV to the receptionist to show her what I can do. She asked me, “Who did this for you?” I told to her I did it. She did not believe that I made the CV and she did not let me help her.

Emma – United Kingdom

I went to a clothes shop on my lunch break at work. I was looking at the different clothes. A lady who worked in the shop told me, “You aren’t going to buy anything, get out!” I was so upset I couldn’t speak. I don’t deserve to be treated like that.

Moyosore – Nigeria

I don’t like it when people look down at people with Down syndrome. On World Down Syndrome Day we must come together with a common goal to change this.

Muthoni – Kenya

Why do people think that people with Down syndrome can’t work? They also think we shouldn’t get paid! I work hard and I deserve to be paid.

Tia – United States

I wanted to go to college but, because I have an intellectual disability, the only courses available to me were in ‘Life Skills’. I don’t want to go to college to learn to make my bed!

Carlos – Mexico

People think that Down syndrome is a sickness. It is not! Down syndrome is a condition. We are like any other person. I want the world to see us for who we really are.

Pearl – Switzerland

Some people think that people with Down syndrome can’t live ‘normal’ lives. That’s wrong! And what is ‘normal’ anyway? 
My life is similar to lots of my family and friends. I went to my local school, I’m involved in a local orchestra and the scouts. I am training to be a teaching assistant.
All of this for me is ‘normal’, just like everyone else.

Andrew – Australia

I am discriminated against because I have a disability. People don’t let me speak up for myself. But I can! I enjoy speaking to people about my life.

Janet – Canada

People think that all people with Down syndrome are the same. We are not! My favourtie thing is learning about different people and what they do. 

What is a ‘stereotype’?

A stereotype is a set idea that people have about what someone or something is like.

Stereotypes can be positive, negative or neutral, but they are often inaccurate, or simply wrong!

Stereotypes are often based on limited information or personal experience. They can be reinforced by the way something is represented in the media or by cultural messages.

Once formed, a stereotype can be difficult to change.

The truth!

People are all different. Each person with Down syndrome is different. Each person with an intellectual disability is different.

We don’t all act the same way or like the same things.

We each have our individual identity, interests, likes and dislikes, gifts and talents, just like everyone else.

Having Down syndrome or an intellectual disability is just one part of who we are!

We are people. Treat us like people.

Help us to End The Stereotypes

Sign up today to hear from the World Down Syndrome Day team about how you can help to End The Stereotypes.

You will also receive our FREE digital WDSD resources.

Together we will create a single global voice advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.


Buy ‘Not A Stereotype’ t-shirts in our shop

By buying our products, your money will support the work of Down Syndrome International (DSi).

DSi is the global network of people with Down syndrome and their families, speaking up together for the human rights of all people with Down syndrome worldwide.