09:05AM, Sunday 17 March 2013
Twin brothers Josh and Harry Turner will wear brightly-coloured socks to school on Thursday.
Their fancy footwear is significant because 'Lots of Socks' is the theme of this year's World Down's Syndrome Day.
It takes place on March 21; an important date for the pair because Josh has Down's syndrome.
Their mum Samantha is keen to raise awareness and to emphasise the key message of the day - that every child is different, not just those who have Down's syndrome.
"Every single person in this world is unique. As is Josh," she said.
The four-year-old twins from Bridle Close, Maidenhead, are in the same class at Furze Platt Infants School.
Samantha, a self-employed search consultant, describes them as 'typical brothers'.
"They love each other one minute and they're fighting the next," she said.
"But if you ask either one of them 'who's your best friend?' they always say the other one."
Both can run, jump and write their names and while Harry was first to learn to walk, Josh followed a few months later.
Although Josh struggles with his speech he uses Makaton, a form of sign language, to help him communicate.
Samantha stressed that while children with Down's syndrome may need more time to reach their milestones, it doesn't mean they won't achieve them.
"Your child will walk, talk, do everything that another child would, but it might just take a little bit longer," she said.
She and her husband Steve were told Josh had Down's syndrome shortly after his birth.
The news came as a shock.
"It was a world I knew absolutely nothing about," she said.
But a health visitor pointed her in the direction of East Berkshire Down's Syndrome Support Group (EBDSSG); a registered charity which became a huge help.
"The more people I spoke to the more reassuring it was," she said.
Samantha is now the secretary of the group, which involves nearly 60 families and holds social and fundraising events as well as other activities like speech therapy sessions.
It also raises money to run a summer school in July.
On Thursday, Furze Platt Infants will host an after-school cake sale with profits going to EBDSSG.
The group welcomes new members, volunteers and fundraising support.
Visit www.ebdssg.org.uk or call Samantha on 07786 554781 for details.
Down's syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome.
Most people have two copies of all chromosomes, but people with the condition have an extra copy of chromosome 21 - which is why World Down's Syndrome Day is on the 21st.
On average two babies are born with Down's syndrome each day in the UK, meaning one baby in 1,000 has the condition.
2013 marks the eighth anniversary of World Down's Syndrome Day, and the second year it has been officially observed by the UN.
Visit www.worlddownsyndromeday.org for details.
*Information provided by the Down's Syndrome Association.
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