What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. Individuals with Down syndrome have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome present in all, or some, of their cells. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and leads to the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.
Current estimates suggest that one child with Down syndrome will be born for every 800 live births, representing approximately 5,000 babies born with Down syndrome each year. It is estimated that there are more than 250,000 individuals with Down syndrome living in the United States.
There is a wide variation in the abilities, physical development and behavior of individuals with Down syndrome. Each individual has their own unique personality, capabilities and talents. With appropriate education, therapy, social support and opportunity, individuals with Down syndrome can reach their fullest potential.