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Down's Syndrome: A Useful Guide

• Written by Andreas


In another guide to the conditions that qualify our customers for VAT exemption, we take a look at Down's syndrome.

Close to 800 children with the condition are born each year across England and Wales.

What is Down’s Syndrome?

Down's syndrome is a genetic condition caused by a third full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Though genetic, the vast majority of cases are not hereditary, and in fact occur purely by chance.

There are three types:

-Trisomy 21, which accounts for 94% of all cases, is the type where the body’s cells have a full extra copy of chromosome 21.

-Translocation, in which there is an extra partial copy of chromosome 21 which attaches to another chromosome. This accounts for around 4% of cases and can be inherited from parents with no signs of the condition themselves. It is the only hereditary type.

-Mosaicism, which only accounts for 2% of cases. With this type, only some of the body’s cells have the extra copy of chromosome 21, which means that many of the symptoms of Down's syndrome are less severe.


Down's syndrome usually causes learning difficulties in people affected, though the extent of these vary from person to person.

It can also cause 20 or so specific physical characteristics, some more common than others. These include:

-eyes that slant upwards

-proportionally large tongue

-flat back of the head

Living with Down’s syndrome

There is no cure for Down's syndrome, but there are numerous support and educational services available to help. Of course, each person is different, and the levels of care they may require vary.

Generally it’s important for people with the condition to get regular health checks, as there are certain health problems that are more common in people with Down’s syndrome, namely heart and digestive conditions.

VAT Exemption

People with Down's syndrome qualify for VAT exemption with Lifeline24. HMRC state that a product which had been “designed or adapted for a disability” qualifies for VAT exemption.



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