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What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome or (Trisomy 21) is the most common occurring chromosomal condition caused by a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This extra genetic material causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome and usually causes varying degrees of intellectual, physical disabilities and associated medical issues.

A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the centre of the palm.

A few of the common physical traits:

  • A flattened face, especially the bridge of the nose
  • Almond shaped eyes that slant up
  • A short neck
  • Small ears
  • Tiny white spots on the iris (coloured part) of the eye
  • Small hands and feet
  • Shorter height than typical children and adults
  • Unusual looseness of the joints (hypermobile joints)
  • Poor muscle tone (hypotonia) making the baby feel and appear “floppy”
Even though people with Down syndrome might act and look similar, each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.