The start of October marks the beginning of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. This cause is significant to me as a former coach of Special Olympics in Billings because there are a lot of trials and tribulations that people with Down Syndrome deal with every day; it takes a lot of strength to overcome those obstacles. Montana has some excellent resources for people and parents of those with Down Syndrome, so let's highlight them.

Statewide Support from DREAM and the MTDSA

Down Syndrome Research Education Advocacy in Montana (DREAM) and the Montana Down Syndrome Association (MTDSA) provide excellent resources, grants, and education advocating for awareness of Down Syndrome. One of the largest events for both organizations is the Buddy Walk, a fundraising activity that aims to provide financial support to families dealing with the medical struggles of Down Syndrome.

Highlighting Down Syndrome is incredibly important because it's an incredibly common condition, with around 6,000 babies born in the United States each year having the condition. Down Syndrome is caused by trisomy, which is the existence of an extra chromosome in the body. Physical features include smaller hands and feet, a flattened face, small ears, and a tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth.

More Local Organizations can Also Provide Support

Family Outreach in Helena is an extremely awesome resource that teaches people how they can best educate their children with special needs, including Down Syndrome. A local resource in Billings that offers similar services is YES Kids Montana; YES stands for Yellowstone County's Extra Special Kids. So, no matter where you live in Montana, there are resources for you and your child with Down Syndrome.

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More information regarding these organizations can be found by checking out the Global Down Syndrome Foundation website here. Consider donating to these organizations as well in order to help provide a better, more fulfilling life for those living with Down Syndrome!

KEEP READING: Here are the most popular baby names in every state

Using March 2019 data from the Social Security Administration, Stacker compiled a list of the most popular names in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C., according to their 2018 SSA rankings. The top five boy names and top five girl names are listed for each state, as well as the number of babies born in 2018 with that name. Historically common names like Michael only made the top five in three states, while the less common name Harper ranks in the top five for 22 states.

Curious what names are trending in your home state? Keep reading to see if your name made the top five -- or to find inspiration for naming your baby.

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