- Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, occurs in most cases at the point of conception, when a baby is conceived with an extra #21 chromosome.
- It is not caused by anything that parents might or might not do.
- The condition affects approximately one in 1, 150 live births in Australia.
- Down syndrome is the most common single identified cause of intellectual disability and the severity of the effects on physical and intellectual functioning varies greatly among individuals.
- People born with Down sydnrome share some common features but they also inherit many of their own family's characteristics. This means they are as alike and as different from each other as the rest of the population. Every individual with Down syndrome has a different personality with different likes and dislikes.
- Children born with Down syndrome have an increased risk of developing a wide range of ongoing medical and health problems including hearing and vision impairment, respiratory illness, thyroid malfunction, heart defects, gastro intestinal tract disorders, Hypotonia (reduced muscle tone), musculoskeletal issues, skin conditions, Leukaemia, Epilepsy and Alzheimer's Disease. These health issues often impair their physical and intellectual development.
- Over the last thirty years, the average life expectancy of a person with Down syndrome has increased from less than thirty years of age, to today when it is common to see people with Down syndrome living well into their sixties. It expected that this life span will continue to increase.