Myth: People with Down syndrome are severely mentally impaired.
Truth: Most people with Down syndrome have IQs that fall in the mild to moderate range of retardation. Children with Down syndrome are definitely educable and educators and researchers are still discovering the full educational potential of people with Down syndrome.
Myth: People with Down syndrome lead isolated lives.
Truth: Today people with Down syndrome live at home with their families and are active participants in the educational, vocational, social and recreational activities of the community. They are integrated into the regular education system, and take part in sports, camping, music, art programs and all the other activities of their communities. In addition, they are socializing with people with and without disabilities, and as adults are obtaining employment and living in group homes and other independent housing arrangements.
Myth: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in segregated special education programs.
Truth: Children with Down syndrome have been included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country. In some instances they are integrated into specific courses, while in other situations students are fully included in the regular for all subjects. The degree of mainstreaming is based in the abilities of the individual; but the trend is for full inclusion in the social and educational life of the community.
Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
Truth: Businesses are seeking young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in small and medium sized offices: by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions and in the computer industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.
Myth: Individuals with Down syndrome are always happy.
Truth: Persons with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and freely express their love. Their feelings can be hurt by inconsiderate attitudes or remarks and insulting behavior can cause them to become upset.
Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close interpersonal relationships.
Truth: Persons with Down syndrome date, socialize and form on-going relationships. Some are beginning to marry. Women with Down syndrome can and do have children, but there is a 50% chance that their child will have Down syndrome. Males with Down syndrome are generally considered to be sterile, but there is one documented instance of a man with Down syndrome who fathered a child.
Myth: Down syndrome is untreatable.
Truth: Through early intervention, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, it is possible to improve many of the problems associated with Down syndrome. In addition, research in Down syndrome is making great strides in identifying the genes on chromosome 21 that affect this disorder. Scientists now feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct, or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.
Sources for this article were publications from the National Down Syndrome Society.