ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Down syndrome is caused by having three of the 21st chromosome, making March 21 World Down Syndrome Day.
Casie Nauman's son, Marcus, is 2 years old and has Down syndrome. She said Down Syndrome Day is an occasion to celebrate differences, but also realize that those with Down syndrome are more alike than different.
"It's really a time to advocate for our children and others who have Down syndrome and other disabilities as well," Nauman said.
Nauman often writes about Marcus in posts on Rochester MN Moms Blog.
"He's not a showcase, but intentionally educating people about differences, inclusion and what makes him him,” she wrote in a recent blog post.
"I think a lot of us operate on outdated information on Down syndrome, and therefore there's a lot of stereotypes out there that aren't true," Nauman said. "So I really work to try to push the limits with that and give new information and just share how wonderful our experience has been."
Some of those stereotypes deal with development and acceptance.
"We still hear people who think that our children with Down syndrome won't amount to much, that they can't be included in a typical classroom in school, and we're just finding now that that's not necessarily true," Nauman said.
According to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, public schools have been required by law to provide a free and appropriate education to children with Down syndrome since the 1970s. However, Nauman said she sees even more for her son in the future.
"There's so many more college programs now that are offering college for students with disabilities," Nauman said, "I'd love to see him be able to pursue something like that, but at the same time, I'd love for him to be in my house the whole time too."
Marcus has two older sisters, Sidney and Isla.
"We tried to explain to them what Down syndrome is for the first time a couple weeks ago, and they were sort of like, 'Yeah, he's different. Just like we all are,’” Nauman said.
After not knowing what to expect when he was born, the Nauman family said they’ve found out how to make life work for them.
"He kind of forces us to slow down a little bit in life and appreciate the small things," Nauman said. "And that truly is a gift."