Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic disorders – and it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Here MusicSnake Magazine put a list of fifteen facts you probably didn’t know about Down Syndrome.
Number 1: Down Syndrome is Not a Disease. Don’t get caught making the mistake of calling Down Syndrome a disease, because it’s definitely not. It is something people are born with, not something they catch.
Number 2: The Life Expectancy for Kids With Down Syndrome Is Much Better Than it Used to Be. The life expectancy for a child born with the condition was just 25 years old in 1983. Now, that life expectancy has more than doubled. It’s 60 years old today. Though that’s still not ideal, significant advancements have been made.
Number 3: It’s Not Named After the Person Who Discovered It. The condition was discovered by Dr. Jerome Lejeune. However, it’s named after Dr. John Langdon Down, who is the man who first categorized the most common features of the syndrome.
Number 4: It’s the Most Common Genetic Condition in the World. Specifically, the syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition in the world. One out of every 691 babies born has Down Syndrome.
Number 5: The Average IQ of Someone With Down Syndrome Is Increasing. Approximately 40% of people who have the condition fall between the IQ range of 50 to 70, which means they’re mildly intellectually disabled. One percent fall between the IQ range of 70 and 80, which also falls within the average IQ range of the general population (70 – 130).
Number 6: People With the Condition Look More Like Their Immediate Family Than Other People With the Condition. Some people assume that kids who have Down Syndrome look more like each other than they do their immediate family; however, this assumption is incorrect. People with the condition will resemble their immediate family more than other people who have the condition.
Number 7: It’s Completely Unrelated to Incest. Though incest can lead to some debilitating disorders, Down Syndrome isn’t one of them. There is absolutely no correlation between incest and the condition.
Number 8: The Cause of Down Syndrome Is Still Unknown. Despite the genetic disorder’s prevalence, its cause is still largely unknown. Though it has been correlated with several different things, one exact cause has not been identified.
Number 9: There’s No Way to Prevent It. Other than maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy, there is no foolproof way to prevent a child from being born with the condition. However, there are many effective treatments for it, including speech therapy, certain supplements, and assistive devices.
Number 10: Some People With Down Syndrome Look Completely Normal. Though there are several physical traits associated with the condition – low muscle tone, upward slanting eyes, and low muscle tone, to name a few – the traits manifest themselves in various degrees. Some people with the syndrome don’t have any of the physical characteristics.
Number 11: It’s Not Nearly as Well-Funded as It Should Be. This is sad but true. Since 2001, the funding provided to Down Syndrome research has been steadily decreasing. In a time when more and more people are being diagnosed with it, this is something that needs to change.
Number 12: Almost Half a Million People Are Living With it in the United States. There are currently 400,000 people living with the condition today. You may have even interacted with one of them without realizing it.
Number 13: Public Schools Are Required to Provide Affected People With Free Education. Kids with Down Syndrome are entitled to a free education catered specifically to them. This has been the case since the 1970s.
Number 14: There Are three Different Types. The condition manifests itself in three different ways in a person’s chromosomal structure. The first and most common way is trisomy 21, which accounts for 95% of all cases. Another way is translocation, which accounts for four percent of cases, and finally, mosaicism accounts for the final one percent.
Number 15: Most Babies With the Condition Weren’t Born to Older Mothers. There’s a stigma surrounding mothers older than 35 that they’re more likely to give birth to babies with certain disorders. However, the truth is that 80% of babies with the condition are born to mothers who are younger than 35 years old.