Skip to main content

What is down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs by chance. It typically causes some level of learning disability and a characteristic range of physical features.

Most babies born with down syndrome are diagnosed with the condition after birth, and are likely to have:-

  • Reduced muscle tone leading to floppiness (hypotonia)

  • Eyes that slant upwards and outwards

  • Their palm may have only one crease across it (palmar crease)

  • Below average weight and length at birth

  • Some degree of vision and hearing problems

Although children with down syndrome share some common physical characteristics, they do not all look the same. A child with down syndrome will look more like their mother, father or other family members than other children with the syndrome.

People with down syndrome also vary in personality and ability. Everyone born with down syndrome will have a degree of learning disability, although the level of learning disability will be different for each individual.


More information

More information can be found on the NHS Down’s syndrome page.

The Down’s Syndrome Association and down syndrome education international also provides information and support. 

Back to top