Down Syndrome Information

Girl Painting

Do you know someone with Down syndrome? A neighbor, a schoolmate, or maybe your sibling? At Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough, we support families with children living with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome affects all races and genders equally.

  1. About 1 in every 741 babies in Canada have Down syndrome.
  2. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades—from 25 years in 1983, to 60 years or more today.
  3. There are 3 types of Down syndrome:
    i) Trisomy 21 — 95% of people with Down syndrome have Trisomy 21. It occurs when there are three, rather than two, number 21 chromosomes present in every cell of the body. Instead of the usual 46 chromosomes, a person with Trisomy 21 has 47.

    ii) Translocation — 2 to 3% of people with Down syndrome have a Translocation pattern. Part of chromosome 21 breaks off during cell division and attaches itself to another chromosome (often the chromosome 14). Although the total number of chromosomes remain 46, the extra piece of chromosome 21 causes the characteristics of Down syndrome.

    iii) Mosaicism – 2% of people with Down syndrome have Mosaic Down syndrome. Cell division occurs in one of the early cell divisions after conception, resulting in some cells, but not all cells, having three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. When this occurs, there is a mixture of two types of cells, some containing the usual 46 chromosomes, and others containing 47.
  4. It is called Down syndrome after Dr. John Langdon Down who was the first person to fully describe it in 1866. The genetic cause of Down syndrome was identified by researchers in 1959. Therefore, it’s Down’s kid, in Canada we refer to someone with Down syndrome.
  5. March 21st  Is World Down Syndrome Day since it is the 21st day of the 3rd month. It was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).
  6. All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate, and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
  7. Children with Down syndrome have a full complement of emotions and attitudes, are creative and imaginative in play and pranks, and grow up to live independent lives with varying degrees of support and accommodations needed.
  8. 50% of babies with Down syndrome are also born with congenital heart defects.

People with Down syndrome are more susceptible for certain medical conditions including: congenital heart defects, respiratory problems, hearing problems, vision issues, hypothyroidism, low muscle tone, and diabetes.