Down syndrome

Down syndrome

Down syndrome is the most common intellectual disability with more than 13,000 Australians currently living with the condition. 

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs at conception, with the development of an extra chromosome 21. People with Down syndrome have characteristic physical features and may experience a delay in development and some learning difficulties, with the level of delay differing from person-to-person.

Speaking clearly can be challenging (especially when coupled with hearing loss), but often speech and language therapy can help this.

A test to confirm Down syndrome in unborn children is available, however, the condition is also recognised at birth and diagnosed by a blood test.

People with Down syndrome often have a lowered general immunity, making them more likely to catch an illness and infection, particularly when young. Despite a healthy diet, both children and adults with Down syndrome can become overweight. This can be managed with plenty of fitness and outdoor activity.

Many people living with Down syndrome lead happy and normal lives within their communities, while others may require high support, due to complex health issues or a greater level of intellectual disability.

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