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All people with Down syndrome are individuals with individual talents and
abilities. They are more like their families than anyone else. The only thing people with Down syndrome have in common is the syndrome itself.
Physically, they may share some of the following characteristics to varying
degrees. It is important you know that the presence or absence of these physical characteristics is of absolutely no relevance to your child’s development.
One in two babies will have heart problems, which can vary from a simple murmur
to a more severe condition. This is quite common and most heart problems will be
diagnosed in the first three months of life and are treated medically or surgically
Your baby’s muscle tone may be less than in other babies which means that their
head and neck will need extra support;
Your baby’s birth weight may be less than that of other babies and their feet and
hands may be smaller, broader and sometimes chubbier.
The bright future ahead
The quality of life of people with Down syndrome has improved immensely in the
last thirty years. Just like the rest of us, they now enjoy longer life expectancy and
can live happy, fulfilling and active lives as part of the community.
It is also now the case whereby people with Down syndrome can be educated like
everybody else. In fact many now rightly expect, and are well able for, an inclusive
education and you should always encourage your child in their studies. In Ireland,
dozens of young people with Down syndrome have already passed state examinations
and reached other educational milestones.
Your child may also expect to work and live as part of their community, to form close
friendships and achieve whatever personal goals they set themselves. Share their
journey to independence with them and let them make you proud.