Down syndrome (DS) is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. Typically, the nucleus of each human cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial 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 common chromosome abnormality in humans, occurring in about 1 in every 700 babies born each year. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British doctor who fully described the syndrome in 1866. There are approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States with DS. The condition occurs in people of all races and economic level.
Cognitive development in children with Down syndrome is quite variable. Although many with the condition experience developmental delays, it is not uncommon for those with Down syndrome to attend school and become active, working members in the community. 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 lead fulfilling lives and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
Below are links to a few videos we like that explain more about Down syndrome and clear up many myths and misconceptions:
Just Like You – Down Syndrome
This video explores the life, hopes, challenges and dreams of three kids living with Down syndrome. Elyssa, Rachel, and Sam share personal stories to help viewers better understand their condition and why they wish to be treated just like you. Each of them has their own talents, characteristics, strengths, and challenges. Down syndrome is just one part of who they are. This video identifies how to handle and accommodate differences while also celebrating the similarities our friends with Down syndrome share with their peers.
We’re More Alike Than Different
People with Down syndrome make great employees, are honest and hardworking, have dreams and aspirations, and have more in common with you and I than most people realize. Helping change these perceptions is the goal of the successful campaign from The National Down Syndrome Congress.