For every 700 babies born in the United States one of them is born with Down Syndrome. It is during the month of October that awareness is raised.

Carin Griffith is the mother of 12 year-old Riley who has a third copy of the twenty-first chromosome. Griffith says her own experience of raising a child with Down Syndrome has opened up her outlook on what defines quality of life.

“We want people to remember that even though they might look a little bit different or act a little bit different they have a lot to offer the world. If we don’t allow a chance for us to get to know them we are the ones that are missing out.” Griffith also says another tip to keep in mind when encountering someone who may have a different level of ability is to presume competence.

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The New Directions Down Syndrome Association has a local chapter that serves the Sioux Falls and surrounding area. It includes portions of Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

One focus of their group is to host events like the Buddy Walk to raise awareness. They also strive to build a sense of community among families who have a loved one with Down Syndrome.