Myth: Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.
Truth: Down syndrome is the most commonly
occurring genetic condition. One in every 800 to 1,000 live births is
a child with Down syndrome, representing approximately 5,000 births
per year in the United States alone. Today, Down syndrome affects more
than 350,000 people in the United States.
Myth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older
Truth: Eighty percent of children born with Down
syndrome are born to women younger than 35-years-old. However, the
incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the
age of the mother.
Myth: People with Down syndrome are severely retarded.
Truth: Most people with Down syndrome have IQs
that fall in the mild to moderate range of retardation. Children with
Down syndrome are definitely educable and educators and researchers
are still discovering the full educational potential of people with
Myth: Most people with Down syndrome are institutionalized.
Truth: Today people with Down syndrome live at
home with their families and are active participants in the
educational, vocational, social and recreational activities of the
community. They are integrated into the regular education system, and
take part in sports, camping, music, art programs and all the other
activities of their communities. In addition, they are socializing
with people with and without disabilities, and as adults are obtaining
employment and living in group homes and other independent housing
Myth: Parents will not find community support in bringing
up their child with Down syndrome.
Truth: In almost every community of the United
States there are parent support groups and other community
organizations directly involved in providing services to families of
individuals with Down syndrome.
Myth: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in
segregated special education programs.
Truth: Children with Down syndrome have been
included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country.
In some instances they are integrated into specific courses, while in
other situations students are fully included in the regular classroom
for all subjects. The degree of mainstreaming is based in the
abilities of the individual; but the trend is for full inclusion in
the social and educational life of the community.
Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
Truth: Businesses are seeking young adults with
Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in
small and medium sized offices: by banks, corporations, nursing homes,
hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment
industry, in clerical positions and in the computer industry. People
with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and
Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
Truth: People with Down syndrome have feelings
just like everyone else in the population. They respond to positive
expressions of friendship and they are hurt and upset by inconsiderate
Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close
interpersonal relationships leading to marriage.
Truth: People with Down syndrome date, socialize
and form ongoing relationships. Some are beginning to marry. Women
with Down syndrome can and do have children, but there is a 50 percent
chance that their child will have Down syndrome. Men with Down
syndrome are believed to be sterile, with only one documented instance
of a male with Down syndrome who has fathered a child.
Myth: Down syndrome can never be cured.
Truth: Research on Down syndrome is making great
strides in identifying the genes on chromosome 21 that cause the
characteristics of Down syndrome. Scientists now feel strongly that it
will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems
associated with Down syndrome in the future.