About Down Syndrome

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  • Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always existed. It occurs in all races, genders, geographic areas and in all walks of life.
  • People with Down syndrome look like and share characteristics of family members and also share physical characteristics with their peers who have Down syndrome.
  • People with Down syndrome have their own unique personality, temperament, capabilities, likes, dislikes and talents.
  • All individuals with Down syndrome will have some degree of intellectual disability, however there is a wide variation in cognative abilities, behavior and physical development.
  • Today early infant stimulation programs and improved educational opportunities enhance a person’s prospects for the future.
  • People with Down syndrome learn at different rates and benefit from inclusive classroom settings just like their peers.
  • In adulthood, some individuals with Down syndrome will live independently; most individuals with Down syndrome will continue to require daily support in their home environment.
  • Increasingly children with Down syndrome are performing at levels undreamed of in the past. Many children are graduating from high school, gaining job skills, attending post-secondary institutions, and finding meaningful employment.
  • Many individuals with Down syndrome form meaningful relationships and get married.
  • People with Down syndrome enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities and can excel in sports, music, drama and the arts.
  • Heart defects are found in 30% – 50% of individuals with Down syndrome and 8% – 12% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth. Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery.
  • Life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome is reduced, however 80% of individuals will live to age 55. One of the main causes of a reduced life expectancy is the high rate of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease for individuals with Down syndrome.
  • Down syndrome is not the whole person – it is just a part of who they are.