18 Myths About Down Syndrome People Affected by It Would Like to See Busted


About 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. That makes Down syndrome the most common genetic condition.

Despite how common it is, there are still a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding Down syndrome. With that in mind, The Mighty teamed up with the National Down Syndrome Congress to ask our readers affected by the condition to share the myths they’d love to see busted.

This is what they had to say: 

1. “People with Down syndrome are not always happy.” — Onya Rohrer

Meme reads: People with Down syndrome are not always happy.

2. “They can’t learn… Bull! My daughter graduated from her local high school, attended culinary school while in high school, went to every prom and homecoming and works at Wendy’s. Yes, she has limitations, but she ‘can.’ Have you ever noticed ‘can’t’ isn’t in the dictionary?” — Susan Harrison Herscher

3. “I hate the expression that ‘He/She suffers from Down syndrome.’ Unless they are ill, they don’t suffer. My son as well as the rest of the population with Down syndrome are very happy, contented young people who enjoy life to the fullest.” — Lynne Aquamarine Clarke

Meme reads: I hate the expression, he/she suffers from Down syndrome. Unless they are very ill they don't suffer.

4. “‘People with Down syndrome are slow mentally’ is the biggest myth I’ve heard. My son picks up on things quickly and, although he may have been slower to develop physically, his thought process is sharp. All children with Down syndrome develop at different rates, just like so called ‘normal’ children.” — Christy Whyman

5. “Expecting people with Down syndrome to all be the same is ridiculous. My daughter looks and acts more like me. She is growing and developing at her pace. I have had people remark that she seems more ‘energetic’ and ‘attentive’ than other people with Down syndrome. I have become very good at the art of the polite explanations of differences among a special population.” — Kyphanie Opdahl

Meme reads: Expecting people with Down Syndrome to all be the same is ridiculous.

6. “People think it’s the mother’s fault a baby is born with Down syndrome. I don’t think people take the time to understand how it happens and that it’s nobody’s fault. And it’s wrong to pass judgment when you’re not educated on it.” — Breanna Fragoso

7. “All kids with Down syndrome do not have the same personality.” — Margaret Barry Sharp

8. “Having Down syndrome doesn’t make a person different from anyone else. It doesn’t mean they aren’t smart. It doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of learning or achievement. It doesn’t mean they won’t live a full life and it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to have independence. And it certainly doesn’t hold anyone back from accomplishing their dreams. I want people to see that it’s a blessing to have Down syndrome. That it is a beautiful thing that isn’t scary, or a ‘curse.’ People who have Down syndrome have a wide range of capabilities and shouldn’t be seen as any different from anyone else.” — Megan Campbell

meme reads: Having Down syndrome doesn't make a person different from anyone else.

9. “Only older people have babies with Down syndrome… I was 18 and my husband was 19 when [our son] was born.” — Amber Dawn Little

10. “‘Oh they just give the greatest hugs!’ Yes they do, but should not be requested to hug people they don’t know. They must know stranger danger just like any other child.” — Susan Pentony Cully

11. “Even though individuals with Down syndrome may have the same facial features, they will still look like part of the family. My daughter and son look very much alike regardless of Down syndrome features.” — Amanda Rensing-Scauzillo

Meme reads: Even though individuals with Down syndrome have some the same facial features, they will still look like part of the family.

12. “I’d like to crack the myth that it’s a syndrome. ‘Syndrome’ makes it sound like a contagious disease. Does everyone who’s born with red hair have a syndrome? What about those born with dimples? Do they have a syndrome because there’s a dent in their face? I say it’s all in how we perceive it. We’ve been around long enough to recognize that no single person is the same. When will we come to terms with the fact that some people think faster or speak clearer than others? But dang it, it doesn’t mean they have a syndrome that makes them unworthy of being treated with dignity.” — Jamie Awtry McClintic

13. “‘People with Down syndrome are a burden to their families.’ I have found it to be quite the opposite, in which our child has been life’s best teacher.” — Kim St Andrassy Kann

meme reads: People with Down syndrome are a burden to their families. I have found it to be quite the opposite in which out child has been life's best teacher.

14. “‘They’re the happiest people you’ll ever meet.’ Yes, my son is happy. However, he also feels sadness, fear, frustration, anger and hurt. This stereotype minimizes the full range of emotions that people with Down syndrome face daily. It’s a dangerous stereotype that can lead others to believe they aren’t capable of feeling anything but happy. And that belief can lead to mistreatment in a variety of ways.” — Zach N Zoey Facebook page 

meme reads: Yes, my son is happy. However, he also feels sadness, fear, frustration, anger and hurt.

15. “That they can’t outsmart you. Ha! My son can buy movies on demand or find a video on YouTube the minute my back is turned. He’s a smart cookie.” — Elena Berzins

16. “‘Children with Down syndrome are only given to special people.’ That’s not true! Our life wasn’t very special until we had our son with Down syndrome.” — Kelly Luster Vega

Children with Down syndrome are only given to special people. That's not true! Our life wasn't very special until we had our son with Down syndrome."

17. “‘Your child will not walk, talk or do anything ‘normal’ kids do.’ They’re so wrong!” — Sandra G Hair Lanham

18. “That Down syndrome is something to mourn.’ Sure, you may grieve the baby with 46 chromosomes that you thought you had, but you quickly come to realize that life is more fulfilling and beautiful with 47.” — Kristina Johnson

meme reads: That Down syndrome is something to mourn. Sure, you may grieve with the baby with 46 chromosomes that you thought you had, but you quickly come to realize that life is more fulfilling and beautiful with 47.

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