About Down Syndrome

What is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome, also referred to as Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition that affects approximately 1 in 800 of every births in Canada. A person with Down Syndrome has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome instead of two. The effects of this extra ‘genetic material’ vary from individual to individual but can include mild to moderate developmental delays, the potential for heart defects and well as issues with the stomach and bowel. There are also some distinguishing physical attributes that individuals with Down Syndrome might have including almond shaped eyes and low muscle tone. Again, the prevalence and severity of associated attributes varies from individual to individual.

Myths

  • Individuals with Down Syndrome are always happy and smiling
  • Only older mothers have babies with Down Syndrome
  • The mother must have done something during pregnancy to cause their baby to have Down Syndrome
  • Individuals with Down Syndrome are unemployable.

Facts

  • It is the most common genetic condition affecting 1 in every 800 births in Canada
  • Down Syndrome does not discriminate and can occur regardless of nationality, race, religion or socio-economic status
  • People with Down Syndrome ARE PEOPLE and have  the same range of emotions and feelings as anyone else
  • There is absolutely nothing that a father/mother could have done either before or during pregnancy to have caused a child to have Down Syndrome as the cell division occurs at conception.