Down syndrome is...

a naturally occurring genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome.

Babies with Down syndrome are born in every country to parents of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds.

Whilst people with Down syndrome share some common physical characteristics, each is a unique individual with their own strengths and weaknesses, individual character and personality, each influenced by their families, friends and life – just like everyone else.

There are three types of Down syndrome and the type is identified from the chromosome studies done at birth to confirm the diagnosis of Down syndrome:

Trisomy 21 is the most common type of Down syndrome – it includes 95% of the Down syndrome population.

Translocation occurs in only 2-3% of those born with Down syndrome, where an extra part or whole extra copy of chromosome 21 is attached to a different chromosome.

Mosaicism occurs in around 2-3% of people with Down syndrome, where there is an extra whole chromosome 21 in only a percentage of their body cells – the rest of the cells do not have the extra chromosome.

No matter which type of Down syndrome your child has, the effects of the extra genetic material will be unique to them. They will have their own strengths, likes, dislikes, talents, personality and temperament. Think of your baby first as a child. Down syndrome is just part of who they are.

What is Down syndrome?

Meet George Webster, actor, TV presenter and Mencap ambassador.

In this video George dispels five myths about Down syndrome.

Don't underestimate me...

Everyone with Down syndrome has a learning disability, it takes longer to learn new information and master skills but with greater inclusion, our young people can each fulfil their potential. 

We love hearing from some fabulous people over in Canada explaining a little more about what it means to have Down syndrome.

Some of the things people with Down syndrome are tired of hearing! 

Language matters

It is vitally important that people have a contemporary understanding of what life is like having Down syndrome in modern Britain and that language used when speaking of people with Down syndrome is respectful and accurate.  We have created some guidelines which we hope you will find helpful.