Misconceptions About Down Syndrome

One of the best ways to promote awareness of Down syndrome and promote the abilities of those who have the disorder is to know the facts and myths. Below are common misconceptions that are held followed by facts to help create understanding.

 

Myth:

Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.

Fact:

Down syndrome is not rare. The Center for Disease Control estimates 3,357 babies are born with Down syndrome in the U.S. each year. 

 

Myth:

Down syndrome is not treatable.

Fact:

While there is no cure for Down syndrome, there are many treatments available for the challenges associated with Down syndrome.

 

Through early intervention and related therapies, individuals with Down syndrome are able to greatly improve on their capabilities. Research on Down syndrome is making great strides toward improving, correcting, or even preventing many of the challenges related to Down syndrome.

 

Myth:

People with Down syndrome have severe mental retardation.

Fact:

Most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate cognitive delays.

 

Myth:

Children with Down syndrome must be placed in separate special education programs.

Fact:

Most children with Down syndrome in the United States are integrated into regular school classrooms for varying portions of the day. In some instances, they are fully integrated. Each school system is required by law to provide the least restrictive environment possible for all special needs children. More recently, post-secondary opportunities are being afforded to adults with Down syndrome.

 

Myth:

People with Down syndrome will need to live at home with their parents the rest of their lives.

Fact:

A large percentage of adults with Down syndrome live semi-independently with varying levels of support. Some maintain their own homes. Adults with Down syndrome often hold jobs and have romantic relationships.

 

Myth:

People with Down syndrome are always happy.

Fact:

People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions such as sadness, anger and happiness—just like everyone else.

 

Myth:

Individuals with Down syndrome die at a young age.

Fact:

The average life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome is now 55 years of age. Many live to be 60-70 years of age.