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March 21, 2017


March 21 is internationally recognized as World Down Syndrome Day. This is an important event for remembering children with special needs. Over the years, many catch-phrases have been used for Down Syndrome Awareness including “The UPside of Down” or “Not Special Needs, Just Human Needs” to emphasize that children with Down Syndrome are very much a part of our community and our world.

Some facts about Down Syndrome:

  • It is the most common genetic or chromosomal disorder occurring in 1 out of 700 to 1000 births.
  • An extra copy of chromosome 21 in the genetic material of the individual causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
  • Some common features include:
    • Almond-shaped eyes that slant up
    • Small ears
    • Enlarged tongue in proportion to the mouth
    • Short neck
    • Flattened face
    • Small hands and feet
    • A single crease in the center of the palm
    • Shorter in height
  • Some children with Down syndrome may have other birth defects such as:
    • Hearing loss
    • Ear infections
    • Eye diseases
    • Heart defects
  • Children with Down syndrome may look and act similar but each will have different abilities.
  • Women who are 35 years or older are at higher risk for having a baby with Down syndrome. However, many babies with Down syndrome are born to mothers less than 35 years old, because there are more births among younger women.
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels. All experience cognitive delays.
  • Down syndrome is a lifelong condition. The life expectancy can reach beyond 50 years of age.
  • Various services (speech, occupational, physical therapy) and special education services can help children with Down syndrome reach their full potential.
  • People with Down syndrome can attend school, work, have meaningful relationships and contribute to society in many ways.

Locally, the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. is an organization founded in 1991 by dedicated parents and committed physicians to offer support to families who have children with Down Syndrome.



Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Down Syndrome Society


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