So I just want to share a few facts about Down Syndrome that will hopefully help people realize that it is not as devastating a diagnosis as many believe.
- Life expectancy for people with DS has improved dramatically over the past few decades. Today, the average life expectancy is 60 years old - compared to 25 years old in 1983. It is widely believed among experts that people with DS born today will live as long as their typical peers.
- Although Down Syndrome causes developmental and cognitive delays, a majority of people fall into the mild to moderate delay category.
- The chances of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome increase with maternal age (specifically over the age of 35). However, 80% of children with Down Syndrome are born to mothers UNDER the age of 35 (I turned 28 a week before Aaron was born).
- Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality, occurring in 1 out of every 691 live births.
- Down syndrome is not a disease, it is a genetic disorder (although it is usually NOT inherited). The medical term for DS is Trisomy 21 - which indicates there are 3 copies of the 21st chromosome instead of the typical 2 copies.
- Incredible advances in research have been made in recent years. Many researchers and scientists now believe that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the near future. Clinical trials have recently started for a medication that hopes to improve cognitive function in people with DS.