The following information was derived from the National Down Syndrome Society Web site and from the Down Syndrome Association of Greater New Orleans.
Down syndrome is usually caused by an error in cell division. All people with Down syndrome have an extra portion of the number 21 chromosome present in all, or some, of their cells. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with the syndrome.
One in every 800 to 1,000 children is born with Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome possess a wide range of abilities and are active participants in the educational, occupational, social and recreational activities in our community. Today in the US, and right here in the New Orleans area, there are people with Down syndrome who have graduated from regular high public school, received their driver’s license, attended college. They work, pay taxes, get married and have something to give back to the community.
In the United States, approximately 350,000 families are affected by Down syndrome. Approximately 5,000 children with Down syndrome are born each year. Some experts project that the number of people with Down syndrome will double in the next 10 years. More and more Americans will interact with individuals with this genetic condition, increasing the need for widespread public education and acceptance.