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Public Papers - 1991 - October

Proclamation 6361 -- National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, 1991


By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Down Syndrome is one of the most common congenital causes of mental retardation. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it affects approximately 4,000 babies in the United States each year. At one time in our history, people with Down Syndrome were stigmatized or, all too frequently, committed to institutions. Now they are benefitting from important advances in research, education, and health care.

Today we know that many individuals with Down Syndrome are both determined and able to lead active, productive lives. Thanks to early intervention and main-streaming, as well as improved treatment of physical health problems related to Down Syndrome, thousands are doing just that.

In recent years, more and more parents have been able to obtain the information and support that they need to cope with the unique challenges of rearing a child with Down Syndrome. Through special classes and mainstream programs in schools, more and more young people with this developmental disability are joining in the exciting process of learning and discovery. Many are also working to achieve their fullest potential through vocational training and independent living programs. Their achievements, underscored by recent television appearances of actors with Down Syndrome, are helping to dispel old myths and misconceptions about the disorder.

Much of this progress has been made possible by the vision and hard work of concerned researchers, physicians, educators, and parents, including members of private voluntary organizations such as the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society. Working together with government agencies, these Americans have helped to affirm the God-given abilities and worth of persons with Down Syndrome. This month, we express our admiration and our support for their efforts.

To help promote greater understanding of Down Syndrome, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 131, has designated the month of October 1991 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1991 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 twenty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:25 p.m., October 21, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 23.

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