Down syndrome is a genetic condition, which occurs as a result of having three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome, and effects approximately 1 out of 750 births in Canada. This additional genetic material may alter the course of development. All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, however it is not an indicator of the quality of life, strengths, or accomplishments each individual is capable of. Down syndrome is only a part of what makes a person who they are, and does not define them.

Some individuals with Down syndrome may experience health conditions that are commonly associated with extra chromosome. Read the following from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society:

“People with Down syndrome may face unique health complications beyond typical illnesses. Problems such as some congenital malformations of the heart can be life-threatening, whereas other conditions are not as serious. No individual with Down syndrome will have all these potential health complications, however, every child needs good preventative medical care. Teamwork between the family and doctors is vital to anticipate potential problems, and provide specific and individual treatment throughout their life, should they occur. Appropriate health care can greatly enhance the potential and life of individuals with Down syndrome.” (Click here to learn more details about common health conditions associated with Down syndrome.)

If you would like to learn more about Down syndrome, please visit the resources below:

Canadian Down Syndrome Society

National Down Syndrome Society

The National Society of Child Development