About Down Syndrome

People with Down syndrome are human beings with recognizable physical traits and limited intellectual endowment due to the presence of an extra chromosome 21.

Click here to read the Creed of Babies with Down Syndrome.

Approximately 6000 children are born in with Down syndrome each year in the U.S.

Children with Down syndrome are usually smaller and their physical and mental development is usually slower. Their mental capacity ranges from no mental retardation to severely mentally retarded. Most children fall in the mild to moderate range of retardation. (The term "retardation" simply means slower, although it typically has such a negative conotation.) A caring and enriching home environment, early intervention, and integrated education efforts are shown to have a dramatic positive effect on a child with Down syndromes development.

There are many theories on what causes Down syndrome. However, none of these theories have been proven. They include: hormonal abnormalities, X-rays, viral infections, immunology problems, or genetic predisposition, which may be the cause of the improper cell division resulting in Down syndrome. The physical features observed in children with Down syndrome usually do not cause any disability in the child.

60-80% of children with Down syndrome have hearing deficits. 40-45% have congenital heard disease, intestinal abnormalities and a higher frequency of eye problems. Other concerns that may arise are nutrition, Thyroid disease and skeletal problems.

Advances in molecular biology make it possible to examine the genetic basis for Down syndrome. Once we identify the genes on chromosome 21 and how they interfere with normal development, we might be able to counteract their effects.

Early intervention programs, pre-school nurseries and integrated special education programs have been proven effective in the development of those with Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome can benefit from an expanding environment. School can teach a child with Down syndrome the necessary academic, physical and social skills to lead a productive life within the community, instead of excluded from it. Prevocational training is also important, so that those with Down syndrome can learn important job training which will lead to meaningful employment.

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