Down Syndrome

What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a common genetic condition in which a person has an extra chromosome 21.  The cause of this syndrome is unknown but it affects 1 in about 700 births in the United States.  The three types of Down syndrome are:

  • Trisomy 21
  • Translocation Down syndrome
  • Mosaic Down syndrome

You can learn more about these three types here

According to the CDC some common physical features of Down syndrome include:

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • A tongue that tends to stick out of the mouth
  • Tiny white spots on the iris (colored part) of the eye
  • Small hands and feet
  • A single line across the palm of the hand (palmar crease)
  • Small pinky fingers that sometimes curve toward the thumb
  • Poor muscle tone or loose joints
  • Shorter in height as children and adults

Find some more facts about Down syndrome here.   Here are myths and truths about Down syndrome.

According to the CDC children with Down syndrome may have other health concerns.  These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition where the person’s breathing temporarily stops while asleep
  • Ear infections
  • Eye diseases
  • Heart defects present at birth

Is Down syndrome curable?

No.  There is no cure for Down syndrome.  However, research is important for Down syndrome.  Click here for more information about Down syndrome research.

Living with Down syndrome

The CDC says:

Down syndrome is a lifelong condition. Services early in life will often help babies and children with Down syndrome to improve their physical and intellectual abilities. Most of these services focus on helping children with Down syndrome develop to their full potential. These services include speech, occupational, and physical therapy, and they are typically offered through early intervention programs in each state. Children with Down syndrome may also need extra help or attention in school, although many children are included in regular classes.

We strongly recommend that you develop and Individualized Education Plan for your child.  Learn more about IEPs here.

Most, if not all states, have services which help people with disabilities find employment.  Their services may include education, training and job placement services.  If you are in Utah please check out Enable Utah.  We encourage you to seek out other resources in your state of residence.

Our Recommendations

Adopting a child with Down syndrome may be challenging at times.  However, it may also be quite rewarding.  With the utilization of local resources, whether they are medical, education or other, children with Down syndrome can lead happy and fulfilled lives.  Please consider adopting a child with Down syndrome.

Other Resources

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

NDSS’ Mission

The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

NDSS’ Vision

The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities.

National Association for Down Syndrome

NADS is the oldest organization in the country serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families. It was founded in Chicago in 1961 by parents who chose to go against medical advice and raised their children with Down syndrome at home. Their pioneering efforts have made it easier for later generations of individuals with Down syndrome to be accepted by their families and communities, to develop their capabilities, and to work towards independence.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through Research, Medical Care, Education and Advocacy. Formally established in 2009, GLOBAL’s primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home in the United States committed solely to research and medical care for people with Down syndrome. Since Down syndrome is the least-funded genetic condition in the United States, fundraising and government advocacy to correct the alarming disparity of national funding for people with Down syndrome is a major goal.


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