Frida's Footsteps Logo

Day 8: Did You Know? Down Syndrome is Not a Spectrum

People with Down Syndrome cannot be ‘more Down’s’ than another (ugh, horrible phrase) however there are three different ways Down Syndrome can occur depending on how the cells divide when first conceived.

Trisomy 21 - 95% of cases - All the cells of the body have the extra 21st chromosome.

Translocation - 4-5% of cases - An extra copy of chromosome 21 is attached to another chromosome.

Mosaicism - less than 1% of cases - Some cells have the usual 46 chromosomes but others have the extra 21st.

Each individual has strengths, weaknesses, talents and abilities the same as the rest of us.

Some more science behind the magic.


I’ve been asked the question as to whether there is a ‘scale’. It is my understanding that no, there’s no ‘scale’ or ‘spectrum’, but a bunch of potential characteristics and some possible health issues that someone could have if they do have Down Syndrome.

Frida is lucky not to have any health issues, as far as we can work out. But because she has Down Syndrome we know what to look out for and we know that if she has any health issues in the future she should get great care. The pathway for health care in this country for a child with DS is, as far as I can work out, good and well trodden with regular tests for various potential issues and good response times for any issues that might arise. This is obviously yet to be seen and may be a bit of a postcode lottery.

Frida has several physical characteristics that are shared with others who have Down Syndrome (the beautiful shape of her eyes and gorgeous nose and deep blue eyes that sparkle) but mainly she looks quite a lot like Ada and me.

So no, there is no scale. Frida is Frida - she’s who she’s meant to be ❤️