A Mild Case of Down Syndrome

I wanted to write tonight about a term that has come up a lot in both conversations among other moms of children with Down syndrome as well as in how people have described Gigi. The term is “a mild case of Down syndrome”. Apparently this rubs some people the wrong way and most say that it is incorrect. They say that there is no such thing as a mild case of Down syndrome and here’s why. Down syndrome is something you are born with. With the exception of the rare cases of mosaic Down syndrome (1% of individuals with Ds), Down syndrome affects every single cell in the human body. In other words, in every cell there is a third copy of the 21st chromosome. So an individual either has Down syndrome or they don’t.

To better understand, I’ve heard some people make an analogy to pregnancy. You are either pregnant or you’re not; you are not mildly pregnant. However, you can have mild symptoms or you may have a pregnancy with a lot of nausea, high blood pressure, and so on. With Down syndrome, you may have mild cognitive delays, but a heart defect and intestinal issues. Some may have all of the facial features that typically are associated with Down syndrome, while others may have only a couple. Down syndrome affects each individual differently. Just because someone may have most of the facial features that occur with Down syndrome, it doesn’t mean they have severe cognitive impairment. It also doesn’t mean they have all of the health issues that go with it and the opposite can be true as well.

So even though some people may say that Gigi seems to have a mild case of Down syndrome, I appreciate the comment as I perceive it to be a compliment, but Gigi has Down syndrome, 100%.


October is Down syndrome awareness month. This month I am participating in a blog challenge for Down syndrome awareness. Click the link below to see a list of more blogs posting for Down syndrome awareness during the month of October…

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