Down syndrome 101

Is Down syndrome a rare genetic disorder?
Down syndrome occurs in 1 / 800 births.

Do only older women give birth to babies with Down syndrome?
Researchers have established that the likelihood that a reproductive cell will contain an extra copy of chromosome 21 increases dramatically as a woman ages. Therefore, an older mother is more likely than a younger mother to have a baby with Down syndrome, but older mothers account for only about 9% of all live births each year and 25% of Down syndrome births.

Are all people with Down syndrome severely retarded?
Most people with Down syndrome have IQ's that fall in the mild to moderate range of retardation. Some are so mildly affected that they live independently and are gainfully employed.

Can people with Down syndrome receive proper care at home?
Home-based care and community living give people with Down syndrome the opportunity to socialize and benefit from such interactions.

Should all children with Down syndrome be placed in special education classrooms?
While federal laws have been established to insure that all handicapped children have access to public education, children with Down syndrome can and have been included into a regular classroom.

Is there a cure for Down syndrome?
Researchers have identified the genes that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome and are working to further develop mouse models, at varying stages of development, in order to enhance their basic understanding of Down syndrome & facilitate the development of effective interventions and treatment strategies.

(reproduced from the NIH National Institute of Child Health & Human Development)