Down Syndrome South Afica









Guidelines for Press/Media


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The section has been developed for specific use by the media. Very often incorrect information about Down syndrome is given and this can reflect negatively on the condition. We therefore encourage you to use the UP TO DATE information on our website as well as the guidelines below.

"WE CANNOT AFFORD TO UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE AND POWER OF OUR WORDS"

Down syndrome is not a disease or illness and is therefore not contagious. It is a condition;

Although it cannot be cured, people with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, appropriate medical care, early intervention, education and vocational services.

Babies, children and adults with Down syndrome have the same needs and range of feelings as any one else does;

Always refer to a person with Down syndrome as the person first and not the disability first. E.g. "that downs baby" or "that downie".....People with down syndrome are PEOPLE FIRST and need to be called by their name or with reference to a person with Down syndrome.

There is no s at the end of Down. Recent practice is not to capitalize the s in syndrome. Developmentally delayed, Intellectually disabled/challenged and Learning disability are terms also used and accepted. Referring to a person as being retarded or a mongol is NOT acceptable.

"WE OFTEN DON'T TAKE SERIOUSLY THE POWER OF THE TONGUE TO ASSAULT AND ITS ABILITY TO DEVASTATE"

Babies and children with Down syndrome are generally healthy, however some babies are born with congenital heart defects which can be detected at birth and surgically corrected.

Due to the advanced medical care, the majority of people with Down syndrome have a life expectancy of approximately fifty-five years.

Women over the age of 35 are at higher risk of having a child with Down syndrome. Nevertheless more than 80% of children with Down syndrome are currently being born to mothers under the age of 35.

"IF IN DOUBT.....SHOUT!"

We would be glad to assist with any further information or questions that you may have. Please help us in our quest to improve the quality of lives of people with Down syndrome.