Down Syndrome is the most common cause of developmental disability. Down Syndrome is a chromosome irregularity. Most cases of Down Syndrome are the result of an extra copy of the 21 st chromosome. Because Down Syndrome comes from a defect in the 21 st chromosome the condition is also known as Trisomy 21. Down Syndrome in most instances will result in mental retardation as well as other limiting conditions.
Children with Down Syndrome have a widely recognized distinguishing appearance. The Down Syndrome Child may have a smaller than normal and abnormally shaped head. Other prominent features and characteristics include the following:
Down Syndrome is associated with a number of medical problems some of which are mentioned in the above list. Additional medical risks that are associated with Down Syndrome are hearing and vision defects, heart abnormalities, infections, leukemia, thyroid disorders, and Alzheimer’s. Down Syndrome is also associated with a range of developmental difficulties such as delayed motor skills and delayed cognitive skills.
- flattened nose
- protruding tongue
- small mouth
- upward slanting eyes
- round fold of skin on the inner corner of the eyes
- hands are short and broad
- short fingers
- single crease in the palm
- retardation of normal growth and development
- congenital heart defects
The range of abilities and disabilities, characteristics, interests and achievements among people with Down Syndrome vary widely depending on the individual. For this reason, Down Syndrome does not define any one individual. Individuals with Down Syndrome can lead fulfilling and productive lives.