What is Down's syndrome?

Down's syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome in your cells. In the majority of cases it can't be inherited, and occurs by chance at the time of conception.

Let's talk about it

Down's syndrome is more than just a diagnosis or definition, hear from Liam Bairstow about what having Down's syndrome means to him. 

Living with Down's syndrome

People with Down's syndrome are able to leave home, form relationships and gain employment, just like anyone else.

"But I am so proud to be Down Syndrome, so proud."

For more information and advice contact our helpline

Down's syndrome and learning disability

A person with Down’s syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but the level of ability will be different for each individual.

A child with Down's syndrome might take longer than other children their age to reach certain milestones and to develop certain skills. They may also need ongoing support for different aspects of their life when they become an adult.

As with other conditions associated with learning disability, every person with Down’s syndrome is an individual and, with the right support and opportunities, can lead a happy and fulfilling life.

People with Down's syndrome will typically have some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features.

There are some health problems associated with Down’s syndrome, such as heart problems and difficulties with sight and hearing, but these will not affect everyone with the condition.

"I'm excited about his future"

"With each year that passes my son, Seb, teaches me something new. Something that no text book or leaflet ever could have.

Read Caroline's story

Advice and support

People with Down's syndrome will live with the condition for their whole life, but there are ways to help children develop into healthy adults who are able to live the lives they choose. This includes:

  • access to good healthcare
  • early intervention programmes to provide support for children and parents
  • good relationships and family life
  • education and support groups.

For more information and advice about Down's syndrome, contact our helpline.

The Down's Syndrome Association also offer lots of information and support.

Get in touch, we're here for you

The Learning Disability Helpline is our free help and advice line.

Our team can offer advice, information and discuss what support Mencap can offer tailored to your needs, in your area.

Call or email us

You might also like

What is a learning disability?

Hear from people with a learning disability, read our definition and learn about diagnosis
Read more

Learning disability explained

What is a learning disability?
Read more