Down Syndrome

Megan Elswic

What is it?


  • Down Syndrome is a chromosomal genetic disorder.
  • Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

When was it discovered?

Down Syndrome was discovered in 1866 by an English physician and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities; John Langdon Down

Does Down Syndrome have an impact on an individual's life?

Yes, the average life expectancy of individuals with Down Syndrome is about 60 years, though some live on to later 70s

the picture to the side is a photograph of Bert Holbrook who lived to be the oldest man with down syndrome with a world record of 80 years!

What are the symptoms, side effects, or harms Down Syndrome causes to the human body?

  • About half of babies with Down Syndrome have heart defects. Some are minor but others may require surgery.
  • Some babies with Down Syndrome are born with intestinal malformations that require surgery.
  • Children with Down Syndrome have an increased risk of visual impairment (i.e. crossed eyes, near/farsightedness, and cataracts.
  • Children with Down Syndrome may have hearing loss because of fluid in the middle ear, a nerve defect, or both.
  • They also have an increased risk for thyroid problems and Leukemia.

How is Down Syndrome inherited?

  • which chromosome is the gene located on? Chromosome 21
  • Is there a cure? There is no cure for Down Syndrome
  • How common is the disorder? One in every 691 babies in the US is born with Down Syndrome

What tests are performed to determine if an individual has Down Syndrome?

  • screening test; most screening tests involve a blood test and an ultra sound.
  • diagnostic tests; Chronic Villus sampling and Amino Centesis.

Is there any way to prevent this disorder?

  • There are no guidelines to preventing Down Syndrome
  • Living at home and receiving special therapy helps children with Down Syndrome achieve their full potential.

What are some of the existing support groups?