About Down Syndrome

John Langdon Down

John Langdon Down

Timeline – A History of Down Syndrome

In 1866, English physician John Langdon Down linked physical characteristics of people with Down syndrome to decreased intellectual ability. Today, we know that Down syndrome is set of mental and physical symptoms that result from having an extra copy of Chromosome 21.

View a timeline that shows the history of Down syndrome.

The Story of Two Syndromes

A commentary by Michelle Sie Whitten, Executive Director, Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Before the 1980s, the overwhelming majority of people with Down syndrome in the United States were placed in institutions, often times as infants or young children. Today, the average lifespan of someone with Down syndrome is 60 years old. By and large, people with Down syndrome now live at home and participate in our communities.

Read the Story of Two Syndromes.

Misconceptions vs. Reality

There are many misconceptions about people with Down syndrome. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is dedicated to correcting misconceptions and over time providing funding for research that will better address medical and cognitive issues associated with the condition.

Get the facts about Down syndrome.

Prenatal Testing Pamphlet

National Down Syndrome Congress and Global have teamed up to publish the second edition of the groundbreaking Prenatal Testing Pamphlet for Down syndrome, available in English and Spanish. The second edition, created from the first national survey of pregnant women and medical professionals, is easily accessible electronically, or in print at no cost.

Read more about our FREE Prenatal Testing Pamphlet

US Map

Find local and national Down syndrome organizations


Find an organization near you that supports people in your community. Also learn more about nationally-oriented Down syndrome organizations.

View local and national organizations now.