Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all. Typical characteristics include:
- A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
- Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
- Small stature, ears, hands, and feet
- A single line across the palm of the hand (Simian crease/Palmar Crease)
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Cognitive delays, usually mild to moderate
Children with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for congenital heart disease. The incidence of CHD in the general population is .8 percent but in children with Down syndrome, it's 40-60 percent.
Some heart defects can be left alone with careful monitoring while other require surgery to correct the problem. The most common defects in children with Down syndrome are Atrioventricular Septal Defects (AVSD) -- most common, Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD), Atrial Septal Defects, Patent Ductus Arteriosus, and Tetralogy of Fallot. Octavia was diagnosed with an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) that is being monitored by her cardiologist.
Hypotonia causes most children with Down syndrome to take longer to learn to walk, talk, and eat the same foods other children their age eat.