One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
The following are some facts about Down Syndrome found on the website www.ndss.com:
- There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
- Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
- The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
- People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.
- Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
- People with Down syndrome attend school, work; participate in decisions that affect them, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways.
- All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
- Quality educational programs, a stimulating home environment, good health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community enable people with Down syndrome to develop their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.
National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has been at the forefront of Down syndrome research. Through a variety of research programs and activities, now focusing on advocacy for Down syndrome research on the federal level, NDSS has played a major role in advancing knowledge about Down syndrome in an effort to ensure that people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.