October 6th, 2015 | Susie Bodden
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Down syndrome occurs when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome.
Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
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.
A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.
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 realize their life aspirations and lead fulfilling lives.