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One well-known stereotype about persons with Down syndrome is that they are relentlessly "happy." Although some individuals with Down syndrome seem to possess an unusual personality aspect that calls out the best in others, this aspect should be viewed as distinct from the traditional stereotype. Many people with Down syndrome have shattered popular expectations of what they might accomplish, society still has lowered expectations for them. In this paper I seek to identify those characteristics that offer genuine and thoughtful joyfulness among these individuals. Happiness is closely aligned with a sense of peace, well-being, and/or contentment. A more appropriate contention is the idea that a rare and potent trait holds within it true enrichment and peace among individuals with Down syndrome.

Citation

R J Robison. Learning about happiness from persons with Down syndrome: feeling the sense of joy and contentment. American journal of mental retardation : AJMR. 2000 Sep;105(5):372-6

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PMID: 11008845

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