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Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs when a person is born with an additional chromosome (Chromosome 21). Instead of having 46 chromosomes in each of their cells people with Down Syndrome have 47. Down Syndrome can also be referred to as Trisomy 21. People with Down Syndrome can be described as having Mosaic or Translocation Down Syndrome meaning that their chromosomes have been duplicated slightly different ways.
Having an additional chromosome affects how people with Down Syndrome will look, how they will learn and develop new skills. People with Down Syndrome may be more likely to also have health conditions e.g. heart defects, Thyroid issues.
Babies with Down Syndrome often meet early developmental milestones at around the same time as babies without Down Syndrome. Babies with Down Syndrome can learn to walk, communicate and play just like other children. Like most children, no two children with Down Syndrome will develop in exactly the same way.
Typically children with Down Syndrome will develop at a slower pace than children their own age and are likely to have difficulty learning.
Sometimes parents are aware their baby will be born with Down Syndrome due to early diagnosis from modern day prenatal testing, while other families will find out soon after birth. Families who have a child with Down Syndrome can benefit greatly from accessing early childhood intervention support as early as possible.
For some stories from Families and people with Down Syndrome visit these pages on Oi:
There are many organisations that can assist families with information and provide support as your child develops:
Down Syndrome Australia www.downsyndrome.org.au
Down Syndrome Association NSW www.dsansw.org.au
Lifestart Co-operative (Early Childhood Intervention and School Age Years support) www.lifestart.org.au
Down Syndrome Association Vic www.dsav.asn.au/
Down Syndrome Association Vic www.downsyndromevictoria.org.au
Down Syndrome Association Qld www.dsaq.org.au
Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory www.downsyndroment.com.au
Down Syndrome Association WA www.dsawa.asn.au
Down Syndrome Association SA www.downssa.asn.au
Down Syndrome Association TAS www.downsyndrometasmania.org.au