Understanding Down Syndrome
Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder of the 21st chromosome, which causes developmental and intellectual delays. Due to an abnormal division of cells, there is a formation of extra genetic material in the 21st chromosome. This syndrome has acute physical appearance symptoms such as almond shaped eyes or other thyroid and heart-related diseases.
Up until now, no cure has been found for the syndrome, but with the help of early intervention programmes and therapies, the child’s specific situation can be treated. Down syndrome occurs due to the chromosomal disorder of the 21st chromosome and is commonly found in children who are conceived by women who are over the age of 35 years.
Children with Down syndrome display the following characteristics: Flattened facial features, small head, upward slanting eyes, unusually shaped eyes, poor muscle tone, single creased palm, relatively shorter fingers, protruding tongue and broad, short hands.
Most children with Down syndrome are diagnosed at birth. Your doctor can help you find out ways to best treat your child. It is not an easy task to raise a child with the syndrome. At times, parents may need physical as well as mental help. In such cases, it is advisable for parents to join a support group or seek help from other parents who are going through, with the same issue.
It is to be noted that, children with Down syndrome can live a healthy and productive life if given the proper direction and care. As mentioned earlier, there are no ways to prevent Down syndrome, but there are ways to calculate chances of whether or not a couple will have a healthy child.
There are gene doctors who take gene samples from both parents who are planning to have a baby. These doctors then figure out how the combination of the genes would work. The doctor then lets you know if your child might have any possibility of a disorder. After this, the decision entirely rests on the couple, whether or not to go ahead with a pregnancy.
Some children with Down syndrome grow up to be entirely independent and self-reliant, whereas some others may require a little more help and care. This being said, every child with the syndrome has varying mental abilities and social skills. Most children do not face any other health issues, except a few who might face heart problems or trouble in hearing and seeing.
There are, in total, three types of Down syndromes – Trisomy 21 (the most common type, wherein there exist 3 copies of chromosome 21 rather than the normal pair), Translocation Down Syndrome (the extra chromosome of 21 is attached to another chromosome, instead of being on its own) and Mosaic Down syndrome (this type is very rare, wherein only some cells have an extra 21st chromosome, other cells being normal).
All the three types have more or less the same signs and symptoms, although someone with Mosaic Down Syndrome may have varying effects and symptoms.
Parents need to understand that every child is special in their own way, and children with Down Syndrome, if given the proper love, care and direction can grow up to become healthy, patient and self-reliant adults. It is very important to seek help from the right doctors and therapists so as to ensure that your child receives the best treatment.