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The three forms of Down syn­drome (DS) are tri­somy 21, mo­saicism and translo­ca­tion. All three in­volve chro­mo­some num­ber 21 and in­clude the same signs and symp­toms.

The most com­mon form is tri­somy 21, in which ev­ery sin­gle cell in the body has an en­tire ex­tra chro­mo­some 21 (three in­stead of two).

Ac­cord­ing to Down Syn­drome SA, DS oc­curs in about 1 in 500 live births in South Africa.

Con­di­tions can in­clude low mus­cle tone, heart prob­lems, speech de­lays and mild to moderate learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

Strengths can in­clude great so­cial un­der­stand­ing and em­pa­thy, as well as strong vis­ual learn­ing skills.

No two peo­ple with DS are the same. Some may have only two or three symp­toms, while oth­ers have more.

21 March is World Down Syn­drome Day. The date, 21/3, rep­re­sents the three num­ber 21 chro­mo­somes which causes the con­di­tion (tri­somy 21).

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