Web Accessibility and Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth defects. Usually, children born with the condition have some degree of mental retardation, as well as characteristic physical features. Many of these children also have other health problems.

Each year in the U.S., approximately one in every 800 to 1,000 newborns has Down syndrome. This results in approximately 5,000 children born with Down syndrome each year. In the U.S. today, Down syndrome affects approximately 350,000 people. As many as 80% of adults with this condition reach age 55, and many live longer.

The most common form of Down syndrome is often called “trisomy 21,” because individuals with this condition have three copies of the 21st chromosome. Normally, each cell in the human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, which contain the genetic material that determines all our inherited characteristics. We receive half of each chromosome pair from our mother and the other half from our father. Individuals with the most common form of Down syndrome, trisomy 21, have an extra 21st chromosome. Browse through National Down Syndrome Society NDSSExternal Website to understand more on the topic.

World Down Syndrome Day March 21st

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. But there is still so much more we can do.

Down Syndrome International (DSi) encourages our friends all over the world to choose your own activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities. Know more about WDSDExternal Website.

Effect on Web Accessibility

People with down syndrome develop physical features such as low muscle tone (babies appear “floppy”) Flat facial features, with a small nose, Upward slant to the eyes, Small skin folds on the inner corner of the eyes Etc. Information taken from webmdExternal Website. Having said this people with low muscle tone often has delayed motor skills, muscle weakness, and / or coordination problems. People may have difficulty in using mouse which may impact in using the web content. In certain cases of down syndrome, people may experience mild to severe learning difficulties.

Though as accessibility consultants we might not think seriously on providing web content available for users with down syndrome, ensuring that providing information for other cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia and other physical difficulties will provide the web available for users with down syndrome.

Though I don’t have much information on down syndrome and web accessibility I have done my best to research and provide some information around the topic. Any corrections or suggestions are welcome and am open to include in the article.

1 Comment to "Web Accessibility and Down Syndrome"

  1. August 11, 2015 - 6:05 am | Permalink

    That’s a good overview of what down syndrome is. We all certainly should think seriously on how to make the web more accessible to people with down syndrome. The key is to understand that even mild cognitive, intellectual and learning disabilities can severely hamper a person’s ability to full engage with a website. Given that people with down syndrome often rely on the web to give them more independence, particularly in dealing with government agencies, service providers and recreational activities, it is important for web professionals to take their needs into account. The simplest approach is to make sure your content can be read in plain language with images to help clarify key points. Thanks for raising this, Rakesh.

Comments are closed.