Down’s Syndrome is a genetic condition which affects 1 in every 800 babies born in America. Also known as Trisomy 21, it delays the mental, emotional and physical development of children due to the presence of extra genetic material.
The symptoms of this condition differ widely from child to child, as do their medical problems and their treatment. In some cases, children with Down’s Syndrome lead near normal lives, while others are in need of constant medical attention. It is not a condition that can be prevented in any way, but can be detected when the child is still in its mother’s womb. Thus, the expectant parents can prepare themselves of what lies ahead for them as a family.
However, the average adult suffering from Down’s Syndrome displays an IQ equivalent to that of a 9 year old.
What Causes Down’s Syndrome?
A normal child receives a set genetic structure during its conception – 23 chromosomes from each parent. However, some infants manage to get an extra chromosome, making their total tally of chromosomes not 46, but 47. This extra genetic material is the reason behind the delayed physical developments that have come to be associated with Down’s Syndrome
Nobody knows how or why this extra chromosome is absorbed by the child, or how one can prevent it from happening. However, scientists have ascertained that women above the age of 35 face greater chances of giving birth to a child with this syndrome.
It should be noted that even though Down’s Syndrome cannot be treated, the problems associated with the physical health of children can definitely be treated.
Tackling Down’s Syndrome
Parents whose children suffer from Down’s Syndrome often feel great pain, guilt or sense of loss and fear when it comes to raising their child. However, there are a few ways in which they can handle their situation better. The first is to join a support group and talk to parents of other children who suffer from Down’s, because talking about issues helps allay fears. It also helps parents look forward to a brighter future with their child.
Enrolling the children in early-intervention services as soon as possible can be therapeutic too, because such centers have special teachers for physical activities and speech therapy which can encourage a health development in children. One can also send children to schools which have a specialized program that takes care of their needs. However, other children have shown remarkable adaptability by attending regular school.
When these children grow up, 20% of them have displayed remarkable courage by working in paying jobs of some sort or the other, with many of the remaining working in a sheltered environment, be it at home or office. It should be noted that the average life expectancy of a child suffering from Down’s is estimated to be at 55 years, that too after proper care taken of them emotionally, physically and medically.
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