Learn more about Down’s syndrome

 

chromosome-imageDown’s syndrome (Ds) is a genetic condition caused by the presence of a full or partial third copy of chromosome 21 in the body’s cells, it is not a disease. Down’s syndrome usually occurs because of a chance happening at the time of conception. It is rarely hereditary and nothing the parents did before or during pregnancy can have caused it. Approximately one in every 1,000 babies worldwide is born with Down’s syndrome. There are three types of Down’s syndrome: Trisomy 21 (95%), Translocation (4%), and Mosaic (1%).

The condition is named after a British doctor, John Langdon Down, who identified it in 1886. People with Ds are not all the same; they have more in common with their families than with each other. Down’s syndrome is the most frequently recognised form of learning disability. The learning disability affects a child’s ability to learn compared with other children of their age, it does not mean they cannot learn. But the most important thing to remember is that everyone with Ds is a unique individual.

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Ds is a lifelong condition and there is no cure; however, there are many ways to ensure that each individual with Ds is given the right type and amount of support that they need to develop their full potential. Today the average life expectancy for a person with Ds is about 60 years old, with a small number of people living into their 70s and beyond.

For information on how to explain what Down’s syndrome is to children click here.