Myths and Facts

There are a lot of myths about Down’s syndrome still floating around today, some of the work we do is trying to bust these myths and replace them with facts.


  • Myth 1: You can catch Down’s syndrome from someone who has it.

Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition, there is no way that you can get it after you are born, it is part of your genetic makeup.

  • Myth 2: Babies with Down’s syndrome are all born to older mothers.

Although the chance of a woman having a child with Down’s syndrome increases with age, 80% of children with Down’s syndrome are born to women under 35.

  • Myth 3: All people with Down’s syndrome are happy and loving.

Many people think that people with Down’s syndrome are always happy and loving because often this is their own experience of them. However, people with Down’s syndrome experience the same range of feelings and moods as everyone else.

  • Myth 4: People with Down’s syndrome don’t live as long as other people.

This myth comes from the past however due to the advances in medicine, particularly the ability to detect and treat heart defects, and the changes in attitudes within the medical profession this average life experience has raised to 58 years old. Though many people with Down’s syndrome live to over 60 years of age. The oldest reported person with Down’s syndrome in the UK is 72 years old.

  • Myth 5: Down’s syndrome can be hereditary.

Translocation Down’s syndrome can be inherited from a parent who carries the altered gene, however, it is thought most cases of translocation Ds is not inherited in this way.

  • Myth 6: People with Down’s syndrome cannot read or write.

In the past public perception of people with Down’s syndrome was that they were incapable of learning and therefore did not receive any sort of formal education. Now we know that people with Down’s syndrome are capable of learning and many people with Down’s syndrome are visual learners so for them reading can be a particular strength.

  • Myth 7: Children with Down’s syndrome all go to special schools.

fb_img_1471522562985Down’s syndrome affects people differently, and what is important is that the child goes to the school that is right for them however, today many children with Down’s syndrome do attend mainstream school.

  • Myth 8: People with Down’s syndrome cannot hold down jobs.

People with Down’s syndrome can and do work. Many of our members have jobs in a variety of places including offices, cafes and shops to name a few. In many cases a lack of work opportunities can be the problem and the barrier to employment.

  • Myth 9: Adults with Down’s syndrome are childlike.

People with Down’s syndrome are adults and should be treated as such.

  • Myth 10: Children with Down’s syndrome cannot do sports.

Children with Down’s syndrome can do sports and should not be stopped from taking part in sports or team activities.  Some of our members have won medals in their chosen sport.