Friday, January 24, 2014

What is Down Syndrome?

There isn't a lot of factually correct information about Down syndrome on the internet. Due to this, there is a lot of misconception about what Down syndrome really is and how it effects individuals.

Here are a few facts about DS (from

-- Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

-- Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.

-- Down syndrome occurs in people of all races, nationalities, religion, and economic levels.

-- People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.

-- A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.

-- Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.

-- People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.

-- All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.

-- Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends, and the community enable people with DS to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

Most importantly, people with Down syndrome are more like others than they are different! They are just the same as you and me!!

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