Down syndrome is a genetic condition and is a common cause of intellectual disability. Historically, many children with Down syndrome were placed in out-of-home care.
Down syndrome was named after the superintendent of a British asylum, Dr Langdon Down, who identified the syndrome in 1866. Although children with Down syndrome resemble their individual families, there are some physical characteristics common to the syndrome. Langdon Down interpreted these physical symptoms as 'an example of regression from a higher race (Caucasian) to a lower race (Mongol) and hence gave the name Mongolism to the syndrome'.
Sources used to compile this entry: Down Syndrome WA, Down Syndrome WA, 2009, https://www.downsyndrome.org.au/wa/; Megahey, Norman, 'Living in Fremantle Asylum: The Colonial Experience of Disability 1829-1900', in Errol Cocks (ed.), Under blue skies : the social construction of intellectual disability in Western Australia, Centre for Disability Research and Development, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 1996, pp. 13-52. p.22.; State Psychological Clinic, Department of Public Health, Paper No. 22 [Annual Report for the Year June, 1927-28, State Psychological Clinic], Government Printer, 1928. p.6..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 18 April 2013, Last modified: 2 March 2015