You may have some questions about Down syndrome. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 in all of the body’s cells. It happens at conception. This happens randomly and no one is to blame.
Statistically the chance of having a child with Down syndrome will increase with maternal age however around 70% of babies with Down syndrome are born to mothers under thirty-five years of age. This is because mothers under the age of thirty-five have more children overall.
A diagnosis of Down syndrome refers to the presence of the additional chromosome 21. There are no levels or degrees of Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome have a range of abilities just like everyone else.
There are some shared physical features of Down syndrome. However, people with Down syndrome have far more physical characteristics in common with their families.
People with Down syndrome have the same emotions as everyone else – which means they are not always happy. They can also be sad, angry, scared, joyful and excited. Their feelings can be hurt, or they can enjoy fun in social settings, just like their peers.
Many people with Down syndrome live independently. Often, they have support through NDIS to provide them with the assistance they need. Other people with Down syndrome may choose to live with their family. Independent living is becoming more common for adults with Down syndrome. Improvements in education, opportunities and most importantly, community attitudes, means more adults are living independently with varying levels of support.
The average life expectancy in Australia for a person with Down syndrome is 60 years. Thanks to advances in medical diagnosis and treatment and changes to social attitudes, people with Down syndrome are living longer, meaningful and fulfilled lives.
There are a number of books available that can help children learn about Down syndrome.
My friend Isabelle is suitable for children aged 2-4 years. It is a story about two young friends and encourages young children to talk about differences in the world around them.
Prince Noah and the School Pirates is suitable for children aged 6-7 years old. It is a fairy tale about a young prince with Down syndrome.
47 strings: Tessa’s Special Code is a book for children aged 7-8 years. It is a picture book about a young girl named Tessa who has Down syndrome.
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