Facts about Down Syndrome

Down syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is the most common chromosome disorder, occurring once in every 733 live births. An error in cell division, either prior to or at conception, results in an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. There are more than 350,000 people with Down syndrome living in the United States, affecting people of all races and economic levels.

Individuals with Down syndrome are at increased risk for certain medical conditions, including heart defects, respiratory & hearing problems, and sleep apnea. However, with advanced medical care, most of these health issues are treatable and people with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives.

The correct term is “Down syndrome.” Please remember to use People First Language, which emphasizes the person first, disability second (i.e. a person with Down syndrome as opposed to a Down syndrome person).

While people with Down syndrome share some physical characteristics, they are unique individuals with different strengths & weaknesses. They have a wide range of abilities and deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. They are active participants in the community, taking part in sports, leisure, and church activities.

Most people with Down syndrome have mild to moderate mental disabilities. With proper support, they can participate in age-appropriate, general education programs in their neighborhood schools. When inclusion is effectively implemented, research has demonstrated academic and social benefits for all students.

Adults with Down syndrome are contributing members of society, obtaining employment and living independently.