Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.



You are here

Down Syndrome

Understanding Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is the most common and readily identifiable chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disability. Down syndrome is caused by a chromosomal abnormality, occurring when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. The extra chromosome changes the orderly development of the body and brain, causing increased risk for certain medical conditions.

The exact causes of the chromosomal rearrangement and primary prevention of Down syndrome are currently unknown. Down syndrome is not related to race, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status.  Children born with Down syndrome experience a wide variation in mental abilities, behavior, and physical development. Individuals with Down syndrome have their own unique personality, capabilities, and talents. They benefit from early intervention, inclusive education, appropriate medical care, and positive public attitudes.

Fact Sheets and Frequently Asked Questions

Other Resources

  • The March of Dimes strives to help women have full-term pregnancies and is dedicated to researching problems that threaten the overall health and well being of babies.
  • The National Down Syndrome Society has created A Preferred Language Guide, which outlines language that is considered to be most appropriate when referring to Down syndrome or individuals with Down syndrome. 
  • NC Health Info is an online guide to websites of quality health and medical information and local services throughout North Carolina and also en espanol.
  • The Arc of North Carolina provides direct supports and services statewide to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) that enable people to lead full rich lives in the community. Additionally, many local chapters also provide supports and services.

Advocacy and Social Connections

  • Oct 10 2014