Down syndrome occurs when someone has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters development and causes characteristics associated with the condition such as low muscle tone and an upward slant to the eyes. Research indicates no connection between environmental factors or the parent's activities before or during pregnancy leads to a child having Down syndrome.
Physician John Langdon Down discovered Down syndrome in 1866 when he published a description of it as a distinct and separate entity. Nearly a century later in 1959 physician Jérôme Lejeune identified it as a chromosomal condition. This discovery opened the door to advances in diagnosis and treatment and has dramatically increased the life expectancy of those with Down syndrome from 23 years in 1983 to 60 years today.
Did you know...
Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease.
Approximately 1 in 700 babies in the US are born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition.
People with Down syndrome attend school, go to work, make their own decisions, have meaningful relationships, and contribute to society in many ways.
Individuals with Down syndrome can be independent in many ways. Wait for someone to ask you for assistance before you step in to do something for them.
Throughout October, we celebrate people with Down syndrome and raise awareness of their abilities and accomplishments. The month seeks to promote advocacy and support for those who have this condition. Take time to celebrate people with Down syndrome and help spread the message of love, acceptance, inclusion, and respect.