Dispelling Myths During Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Today there are still many misconceptions about Down syndrome and those who have it. During Down syndrome Awareness Month, we hope to dispel some of the common myths about Down syndrome. Discover how we are more alike than different!
MYTH: Down syndrome is a rare disorder.
TRUTH: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, or around 6,000 births per year
MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
TRUTH: People with Down syndrome have feelings just like anyone else. They experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.
MYTH: People with Down syndrome cannot be active members of their community.
TRUTH: People with Down syndrome are active participants in educational, social and recreational activities. They are included in the typical education system and take part in sports, music, art programs and any other activities in the community. People with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and communities, and make meaningful contributions to society.
MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close interpersonal relationships leading to marriage.
TRUTH: People with Down syndrome socialize and have meaningful friendships. Some choose to date, maintain ongoing relationships and marry.
MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
TRUTH: Businesses employ adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions – in banks, corporations, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, offices and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and the computer industry, to name a few. Like anybody else, people with Down syndrome want to have a job where their work will be valued.
MYTH: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.
TRUTH: 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: All people with Down syndrome have a severe cognitive disability.
TRUTH: 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. Individuals with Down syndrome have many gifts and abilities to share with others and the world.
MYTH: Adults with Down syndrome are the same as children with Down syndrome.
TRUTH: Adults with Down syndrome are not children, and should not be considered children. They enjoy activities and companionship with other adults, and have similar needs and feelings as their typical peers.
MYTH: It is ok to use the “r-word” if you don’t really mean it.
TRUTH: It is never acceptable to use the word “retarded” in any derogatory context. Using this word is hurtful and
suggests that people with disabilities are not competent.
Source: National Down Syndrome Association