Pablo Pineda – the first European with ‘Down syndrome’ who graduated from university

If a genius is born with Down Syndrome, does that make his cognitive abilities average? Sorry if this question is offending anyone, we’re really not intending to. We’re just curious if a person born with Down Syndrome can still simultaneously be a genius, and if that’s the case, if these two conditions cancel themselves out or not.

According to medical science, it’s impossible for a person with Down Syndrome to be a genius. Though ‘Down Syndrome’ is a genetic condition that causes retardation but ‘Genius’ is not a genetic mutation. Genius is a social term used to denote an intelligent and accomplished person.

However, in this case, nobody exemplifies better than Pablo Pineda that nothing is impossible; the first European with down syndrome who graduated from University, is now an awarded actor, teacher and motivational speaker.

The Story Of Pablo Pineda: Nothing Is Impossible

Pablo Pineda
Pablo Pineda © Universitat de Barcelona

Pablo Pineda is a Spanish actor who received the Concha de Plata Award at the 2009 San Sebastián International Film Festival for his performance in the film Yo, también. In the film, he plays the role of a university graduate with Down syndrome, which is quite similar to his real life.

Pineda lives in Málaga and has worked at the municipality. He holds a diploma in Teaching and a BA in Educational psychology. He was the first student with Down syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree. In the future, he wants to make his career in teaching, instead of acting.

Upon his arrival back to Málaga, Francisco de la Torre, the mayor of the city, welcomed him with the “Shield of the City” award on behalf of the city council. At the time he was promoting his film and giving lectures on incapacity and education, as he has been doing for many years.

Pineda currently works with the Adecco Foundation in Spain, giving presentations at conferences on the labour-integration plan that the foundation is carrying out with him. In 2011 Pablo talked in Colombia (Bogota, Medellin), demonstrating the social inclusion of people with disabilities. Pineda also collaborates with the “Lo que de verdad importa” Foundation.

What Happens To A Person’s IQ In Down Syndrome?

Psychologists revise the test every few years in order to maintain 100 as the average Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Most people (about 68 percent) have an IQ between 85 and 115. Only a small fraction of people have a very low IQ (below 70) or a very high IQ (above 130). The average IQ in the United States is 98.

Down Syndrome knocks approximately 50 points off of a person’s IQ. This means that unless the person would have been extremely intelligent, the individual will have intellectual disability ― a modern, correct term for mental retardation. However, if the person had very, very smart parents, he or she might end up having a borderline IQ (just above the mental retardation cut point).

For a person with Down’s to have a gifted IQ (at least 130 – not quite what most people would consider genius), that person would have had to originally had the genetic potential to have an IQ to 180 or so. An IQ of 180 would theoretically occur in fewer than 1 in 1,000,000 people. It’s quite likely that it has simply never co-occurred with Down’s Syndrome.

Pablo Pineda is the man who may have a higher IQ than the average person with Down syndrome, but he will still face overt discrimination or prejudice because of the physical features related to the condition.

Final Words

Lastly, many people don’t realize that Down Syndrome is associated with a variety of physical impairments as well. It wasn’t that long ago that most people with Down Syndrome died in childhood due to medical complications ― so we never got to know their full potential.

In this new 21st century, we are evolving very fast, and trying to find the solution to every problem. We know how pathetic it is for the parents of a child with Down Syndrome. No matter who you are, anyone may find himself or herself in the place of those forlorn parents. So we have to think it again, and we have to leave the conventional belief that those poor children can’t do anything good for humanity.

Pablo Pineda: The Power Of Empathy