What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a common genetic variation which usually causes delay in physical, intellectual and language development. The exact causes of the chromosomal rearrangement and primary prevention of Down syndrome are currently unknown.
Down syndrome is one of the leading clinical causes of cognitive delay in the world–it is not related to race, nationality, religion or socio-economic status. The incidence of Down syndrome in the United States is estimated to be 1 in every 700 live births. Of all children born in this country annually, approximately 5,000 will have Down syndrome. There are approximately 250,000 families in the United States affected by Down syndrome.
The likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increases with maternal age; nevertheless, 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age, as women in that age group give birth to more babies overall.
There is wide variation in mental abilities, behavior and physical development in individuals with Down syndrome. Each individual has his/her own unique personality, capabilities and talents. 30%-50% of the individuals with Down syndrome have heart defects and 8%-12% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth. Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery.
Individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, early intervention, inclusive education, appropriate medical care and positive public attitudes. In adulthood, many persons with Down syndrome hold jobs, live independently and enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities.
For More Information:
- National Down Syndrome Society
- National Down Syndrome Congress
- Wikipedia Article on Down Syndrome
- Down Syndrome Article for Parents by Nemours Foundation
- Down Syndrome Article for Kids by Nemours Foundation
- Down Syndrome Social Network
- Down Syndrome Information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine & the National Institutes of Health