Myths & Truths

Common Misconceptions Debunked

Myth: Down syndrome is a rare disorder.
Fact: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 792 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, or around 5,000 live births per year. As of 2010, there were 206,366 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.

Myth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.
Fact: Most children with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35 years old simply because younger women have more children. However, the likelihood of having a child with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother, especially after age 35.

Myth: Parents will not find community support in raising their child with Down syndrome.
Fact: In many communities in the United States, including our community here in Charlotte, there are parent support groups and other community organizations directly involved in providing services to families of individuals with Down syndrome.
Myth: Segregated special education classes are the only option for students with Down syndrome.
Fact: Students with Down syndrome are included in typical academic classrooms in schools across the country. The current trend in education is for full inclusion in social and educational settings. Sometimes students with Down syndrome are included in specific courses, while in other situations students are fully included in the typical classroom for all subjects. Increasingly, individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school with diplomas, and participate in post-secondary academic college programs.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always sick.
Fact: Although people with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, and thyroid conditions, advances in health care and treatment of these conditions have allowed for most individuals with Down syndrome to lead a healthy life.

Myth: All people with Down syndrome have a severe cognitive disability.
Fact: Most people with Down syndrome have a mild to moderate cognitive disability, or intellectual disability. This is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. Be considerate of the extra time it might take a person who has a disability to get things done or said.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
Fact: Businesses employ adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions – in banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels, offices and restaurants – just to name a few. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
Fact: People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions just like anyone else. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and are often hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are the same as children.
Fact: Adults with Down syndrome are not children, and should not be considered children. The enjoy activities and companionship with other adults, and have similar needs and feelings as their typical peers. People with Down syndrome date, socialize and form ongoing relationships; some even marry.  

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