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Down Syndrome

headshot of Cristina Sanz wearing a blue top

Cristina Sanz

“[Born This Way] tells our stories, our dreams. People can see that our lives are most of the time very typical. People with disabilities have jobs, fall in love, have businesses and enjoy time with friends.”

Cristina Sanz, Born This Way

American Horror Story’s Jamie Brewer, Glee’s Lauren Potter and the cast of Born This Way, Elena Ashmore, Megan Bomgaars, Steven Clark, Sean McElwee, Rachel Osterbach and John Tucker, also have Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that is associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance and weak muscle tone (hypotonia) in infancy. All affected individuals experience cognitive delays, but the intellectual disability is usually mild to moderate. Per the National Institutes of Health, more than 400,000 people currently live with Down syndrome in the United States today. About 600 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States every year, according to the National Down syndrome Society.

Use people first language; say that someone is a “person with Down syndrome,” “has Down syndrome” or “is living with Down syndrome.” Do not say “Down person” or that a person “suffers from” or is “afflicted with” Down syndrome.

The National Down syndrome Society has a preferred language guide that can serve as an additional resource for you:

National organizations for people with Down syndrome:

  • The Global Down Syndrome Foundationis a public nonprofit dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy.
  • The National Down Syndrome Congressis a membership-sustained not-for-profit organization dedicated to an improved world for individuals with Down syndrome. Founded in 1973, its mission is to provide information, advocacy and support concerning all aspects of life for individuals with Down syndrome.
  • The National Down Syndrome Societyis the leading human rights organization for individuals with Down syndrome. The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

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