characteristics of Down syndrome

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What exactly are the characteristics of Down syndrome? What is “Down syndrome” exactly? Well, Down syndrome is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. That’s literally what it is: trisomy 21. It’s a “syndrome” because there are common features among those who have that extra 21st chromosme. It’s called “Down” because John Down was the guy who figured out that these similarities must mean… something!

It’s all very simple. And it all ends up being not simple, right?

People with this extra chromosome are judged out of the whazoo. “Happy all the time,” “pure souls,” “angels on earth,” – that’s all the tip of the iceberg, the iceberg that goes on to deeply unkind, dehumanizing language that I don’t care to repeat here.

The Characteristics of Down syndrome

Down syndrome is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. How it expresses in people is similar enough to be called a “syndrome” but in the end, it’s as unique as all people are. My friend Melody created a blank graphic in which in or all of us can upload an image of our child (with their permission of course), and/or ourselves (if we have Down syndrome), tweak it to suit us, and let it fly off the webs of the internet, to change the search results of “the characteristics of Down syndrome”

The idea is to have real images reflect the diversity of Down syndrome, the brilliant ways that the extra chromosome expresses itself in and through people.

Here is ours:

Down syndrome is...

First of all, thank you, Melody, for all your work creating this! It’s awesome and I love it. THANK YOU!

Melody created a draft on Canva, the link to edit your own (make a copy of it first!) is below.

If you can’t edit it or it’s been changed, Melody’s giving you the drafts to work with, also below.


Find Melody on Facebook:

Or on Instagram:

Download she/her pronoun version of “characteristics of Down syndrome” (right/click save the image, upload it to an editing platform like Canva, add your photo!)

Or the he/him pronoun version of “Characteristics of Down syndrome”

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Let Down syndrome Define You: A Letter to My Daughter
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Choosing Moxie
The Influence of Disability Within My World
I Never Knew I Wanted a Child with Down syndrome Until I Had One

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