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New South Wales - Glossary Term

Down Syndrome (1866 - )


Down Syndrome 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'.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Rosser, Debra, 'Down Syndrome (1866 -)', in Find & Connect web resource, Find & Connect web resource project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 18 April 2013,

Prepared by: Debra Rosser