blue text 21 world down syndrome day featuring map of world

World Down’s Syndrome Day 2021

“Around one in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have Down’s syndrome.” – The Down’s Syndrome Association

World Down’s Syndrome Day 2021 is a day in which people come together to not only raise awareness about the condition but to also raise awareness around accessibility for people with Down’s Syndrome in society.

Down’s Syndrome and the Access Card 

Here at The Access Card, we support many cardholders to help them discreetly communicate the barriers they might face when out and about or visiting shows, events or tourist destinations and have provided some more information about some of the typical access requirements we have processed.

Everyone is different and experiences their needs in different ways, but here are some examples based on our experience.

Standing & Queuing

silhouette of 3 people standing in a diagonal row

Whether you have difficulty with physically being in a queue for a significant period of time, difficulty with the concept of queuing, or have difficulty with being in a queue/ crowded spaces, the ‘standing & queuing’ symbol can be added to your Access Card to help communicate this access requirement. 

Different providers have their own ways of accommodating this access requirement.

For example, if you are visiting The Derby Theatre, you can pre-order your drinks, tickets, merchandise, ice creams and programmes when booking your tickets to avoid queuing. These can be brought to you when you arrive. Staff can bring refreshments to your seat inside the auditorium at the interval. If you require specific seating in other areas then this can be accommodated also.

very tall theme park ride at alton towers

Theme parks, such as Alton Towers, will issue a Ride Access Pass to Access Card Holders with the ‘standing & queuing’ symbol on their card.

What is a Ride Access Pass?

A Ride Access Pass (RAP) is a virtual queuing system designed to make reasonable adjustments to assist guests who do not understand the concept of queuing, have a physical disability that prevents them from standing for extended periods of time, or permanently non-ambulant guests.

Distances

black silhouette of man walking < 50m with black border

For people who would perhaps have difficulty with walking/ self-propelling a wheelchair for longer distances, we have the ‘distances’ symbol to communicate this access requirement with different providers. 

Different providers have their own ways of accommodating this access requirement.

side view of the royal yacht britannia blue skies

For example, the Port Eliot Festival has a designated accessibility buggy to help you around the site & The Royal Yacht Britannia has seating along its tour route so that people can take breaks. Wheelchairs are also available to borrow. 

Essential Companions

+1

For those that require a substantial amount of support from another person (e.g. needing supervision to keep them safe, or understanding visual or audible information), we have the ‘+1’ symbol, which indicates to providers that you require a substantial amount of support from another person in order to access a venue’s facilities. 

This symbol is widely acknowledged by our providers as automatic entitlement to free tickets/entry for people providing you with support during your visit.

rotating carriage ride at thorpe park blue skies


For example, Cadbury World offers a free companion ticket to Access Card Holders who have a ‘+1’ symbol on their card.  Thorpe Park also offers a free companion ticket to Access Card Holders who have a ‘+1’  on their card.

Face Mask Exemptions

the outline of a face mask

More recently, throughout COVID, we have had a number of people whose needs mean that they are either unable to put on, wear or remove a face covering, or that they can feel distressed when wearing a face covering and as a response to feedback from our members we now have an additional face mask symbol for those that need it.

There are a number of face mask exemption cards and certificates available in the UK, but we are the only face mask exemption card that offers verification of your exemption.

Thinking of applying for a Card?

If you think the above would be useful for you and would like to apply for your Access Card you can do so quickly and easily by completing our short online application form and uploading some supporting information confirming your needs.

All applications received from people with Down’s Syndrome during World Down’s Syndrome Day can use the discount code ‘down’ssyndromeday’ to get £5 off a three-year Access Card.

access card

Further Sources of Information, Advice, and Support

Check out our full directory for how these symbols apply at over 1,000 venues in the UK and beyond.

Down’s Syndrome Association

“We are often the first point of contact for many new parents of a baby with Down’s Syndrome looking for information and advice, and remain a valued source of support to families as their child grows and develops.” 

Down’s Syndrome Association

Tel: +44 (0)333 1212 300

Web: https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/

Email: info@downs-syndrome.org.uk

Mencap

We’re here to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and their families now, and fight alongside them for a better future. We team up with our network of over 300 local groups to reach people across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Mencap

Tel: 020 7454 0454 ( London Office) 

Web: https://www.mencap.org.uk/