Understanding Down syndrome

Down syndrome is the world's most common chromosomal condition and genetic cause of intellectual disability.

Down syndrome is due to the presence of an extra or part of an extra chromosome, chromosome 21. For that reason, the most common form of Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21. People with Down syndrome commonly have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of 46.

  • Down syndrome is usually recognisable either before or shortly after birth and is confirmed by a blood test. However, what happens after birth is much more important than the extra chromosome in determining the outlook for a baby with Down syndrome
  • A new baby with Down syndrome is first and foremost, a baby – and needs the same love and care that all babies need. He or she will grow and develop but is likely to reach developmental milestones at a slower rate.
  • Like all children, children with Down syndrome are individuals with their own strengths, challenges, likes, dislikes and personalities.

Down syndrome can lead to developmental delays and other problems, but can range in severity. These can include:

  • Behaviour – poor judgement, impulsiveness
  • Learning - short attention span, delayed speech and language development
  • Cognitive function – developmental delays, cognitive impairment

This information has been provided to us by the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland.

Contact us today

Give us a call on 1800 275 753 to discuss your support needs with our Allied Health team, or send an online enquiry and we'll be in touch.

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How can CPL help?

Just diagnosed and kids with Down syndrome

Early Intervention Therapy

Down syndrome can be diagnosed at birth, or even before. Our early intervention services can help support you and your family learn how to best support your child and develop strategies for reaching their goals.


The NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach supports children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families/carers. CPL's Support Coordinators can help you to navigate your first NDIS plan.


Teens and Adults with Down syndrome

Support at home 

Sometimes it helps to have an extra set of hands at home. CPL can support your needs, from getting ready for school, university or work, right through to mealtime assistance and medication.

Independent living

CPL provides 24/7 Supported Independent Living services, and has a number of vacancies in accessible homes.

Employment and Training opportunities

There are a range of disability employment and training pathways for people with Down syndrome, designed to help you reach your goals.