Facts About Down Syndrome

  • Down syndrome is a common genetic variation which usually causes delays in physical, intellectual and language development.

  • The exact causes of the chromosomal rearrangement and primary prevention of Down syndrome are currently unknown.

  • Down syndrome is one of the leading clinical causes of cognitive delay in the world--it is not related to race, nationality, religion or socio-economic status.

  • The incidence of Down syndrome in the United States is approximately one in every 722 live births.

  • Of all children born in this country annually, approximately 5,000 will have Down syndrome.

  • There are approximately 1/4 million families in the United States touched by Down syndrome.

  • While the likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increases with maternal age, 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age, as women in that age group give birth to more babies overall.

  • There is a wide variation in cognitive abilities, behavior, and physical development in individuals with Down syndrome. Each individual has his/her own unique personality, capabilities and talents.

  • 30%-50% of individuals with Down syndrome have heart defects and 8%-12% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth.  Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery.

  • Individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, early intervention, inclusive education, appropriate medical care and positive public attitudes.

  • In adulthood, many persons with Down syndrome hold jobs, live independently and enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities.

Source:  National Down Syndrome Congress