21 Facts about Down syndrome for Down Syndrome Awareness Day

  1. Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is a result of 3 copies of the 21st chromosome instead of the typical 2.
  2. Trisomy 21 happens prior conception. There is no way to prevent it. The cause of this is still unknown
  3. Down syndrome is not an illness or a disease. It is a condition or syndrome. You cannot “catch” it.
  4. Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition.
  5. You can have a perfectly normal and natural birth if your child has Down syndrome. I did!
  6. 80% of children born with Down syndrome have mothers under the age of 35. I was 33 when I had Mary. Age does have a factor in it, but being young does not exempt one from it.
  7. Down syndrome can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after birth. We chose to have the test that verified if she had it during our pregnancy so we were informed. We are very glad we did.
  8. Down syndrome affects people of every race, age, religion, and economic status. There are many actors and actresses who have loved ones with Down syndrome and are vocal about it.
  9. Children with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for many health issues. This does not mean they will have them all! Just that the list of possibilities is a bit longer than normal.
  10. 50% of children with Down syndrome are born with a heart defect. The severity can range from “wait and see” to “surgery ASAP”. Mary has a small hole in her heart and is on the “wait and see” end of the spectrum.
  11. About 50% of children with Down syndrome will have some problem with hearing or vision.
  12. The extra chromosome was discovered by John Langdon Down in 1866. The called it Down syndrome after him.
  13. The average life expectancy of a person with Down syndrome is 60 years
  14. Fifty years ago, people with Down syndrome were sent to institutions. Now they live at home, attend school, have relationships just like everyone else!
  15. Siblings do not suffer from having a sibling with Down syndrome. In fact, most say their lives are better for it! Alex loves his baby sister and tells her so daily.
  16. You cannot tell how mild or severe the delay will be just by looking at them. Physical traits are not indicative of IQ.
  17. People with Down syndrome are not “always happy”. They get angry, scared, frustrated, mean, upset, jealous as well. They range in emotions just like everyone else.
  18. People with Down syndrome may have common physical characteristics, but they are also their own unique individual. They will look like they belong in their family. I see a lot of Bryan and Alex in Mary. Still haven’t seen any of me.
  19. Down syndrome cannot be “cured” as it is part of their DNA. It would like trying to change your eye color, hair color, skin color, and so on.
  20. The colors associated with Down Syndrome Awareness are blue and yellow
  21. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month while March 21 (3-21) is Down Syndrome Awareness Day.

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