Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs when a child inherits a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. The additional genetic material alters the child’s development and can cause characteristics such as low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes or a single deep crease across the palm. One in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome.
The cause of this extra chromosome is still unknown. Down syndrome can be diagnosed either during a prenatal screening or after birth. Early intervention and a variety of therapies are available and may be beneficial to people with Down syndrome in helping with functioning and communication.
Down syndrome may cause developmental delays and/or physical disabilities. While people with Down syndrome may share some characteristics, each individual develops at his/her own pace and has unique capabilities and abilities.
There are a variety of organizations available to provide support, resources, information, opportunities and a community for those with Down syndrome and their families.