About Down Syndrome:
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three copies of the 21st chromosome. The additional genetic material changes the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome.
There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
The occurrence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. Due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35.
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.
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 unique and may have all, some, or none of these characteristics.
The life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
People with Down syndrome attend school, work and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, the affect 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 Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.