What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a life-long condition
that causes delays in learning and development.
It cannot be cured but problems can be eased if people
with Down syndrome have the right help and if other people have
a positive accepting attitude.
It occurs because cells contain an extra chromosome number
It can occur in any family of any race, culture or religion
and is never anyones fault.
In New Zealand one baby in about 1000 is born with Down
syndrome; that is one or more babies with Down syndrome born
People with Down syndrome are individuals and vary in
their abilities and achievements. They are contributing members
syndrome was first described in detail by an English doctor,
John Langdon Down, in 1866. It is a congenital condition which
randomly affects about 1 in 1000 babies born throughout the world,
male and female alike.
A Syndrome means a group of recognisable characteristics
occurring together. A "congenital" syndrome is one
present at birth, one which cannot be "caught" later
Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 inside
each of the body's cells. It is a chromosomal accident, not
caused by anything the parents may have done before or during
pregnancy. Down syndrome is recognisable at birth because of
the typical physical characteristics and diagnosis will have
been confirmed by chromosome analysis.
People with Down syndrome do have features
in common, but they also closely resemble their parents and
family. Many characteristics are attributed to Down syndrome
but any one person will only have some of them - each person
is an individual, with a unique appearance, personality and
set of abilities. The extent to which a child shows the physical
characteristics of the syndrome is no indication of his or her