Also known as Trisomy 21, Down’s Syndrome is a genetic disorder in which extra genetic material interferes in the development of children. Down’s Syndrome occurs in about a 1:800 ratio and medical problems, as well as physical features commonly associated with Down’s Syndrome, can be widely diverse between children with the condition.
Although some children with Down’s Syndrome may need extensive medical care others may lead perfectly healthy lives. It cannot be prevented, it cannot be cured but it can be diagnosed early enough (even during pregnancy) to prepare potential parents for the unique health problems that may crop up. As this is not considered a rare condition, the only thing that may be difficult will be looking into all the many support systems available to families living with it and doing their homework on the numerous treatments also available to help with the health or medical challenges they may experience with their child.
Bear in mind that even though children born with Down Syndrome have their own set of medical challenges, they can still come down with the occasional cold, ‘flu or sinus infection. And although most parents have been able to secure a doctor who specializes in this unique condition, sometimes you just need a little advice. So if your Down Syndrome child is feeling under the weather or it’s outside of office hours or even if you just have any questions about what OTC (over the counter) medications are safe to give to your child, you might look into one of many health care “talk to a doctor” services, such as Dr SmartPhone MD, which give you the option to call a doctor for consultation and advice, either over the phone or by video conference.
It is still uncertain what causes Down’s Syndrome to occur but it has been ascertained that women over the age of 35 may be at higher risk of bearing a child with this condition.
…IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Because there are certain physical characteristics that are peculiar to Down Syndrome children, such as a upwardly slanting eyes, somewhat “flattened” features to the face and a muscle condition known as ‘hypotonia’ (low muscle tone), DS children can wind up suffering a greater cruelty than merely fighting the disorder which nature gave them.
It’s never wise to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’, but this is exactly what people tend to do when coming face-to-face with a child (or surviving adult) who was born with DS. Because they look “different”, it is often automatically assumed that they are intellectually or emotionally inept. In many cases this simply is not true.
There are famous musicians, conductors, actors and athletes who have been counted among these wonderful individuals! The most talked about, however, are just the non-celebrity kids who were born to “just plain folk”. And if you ask them, most of them will shout it from the rooftops that they have learned more from their very special offspring than they have in all their years previously. Unconditional love, patience, tolerance and the ability to find joy in the simplest things…
And oh my goodness…when such innocence flashes a smile or breaks out into laughter! You just know that God is in His heaven and all is right in your world.
Being the parent of a Down Syndrome child is not for the faint of heart. If you are a woman over the age of 33, talk to a doctor about the possibility of your becoming pregnant. If you decide that the pros outweigh the cons, be sure to visit your OB/Gyn as soon as you suspect you are pregnant so that testing for Down Syndrome can be planned. But either way, research research research!
And search your heart. Be brutally honest with yourself because these beautiful children deserve the best.
If you are pregnant, do not have medical coverage or do not qualify for assistance and are concerned about whether or not your baby is at risk for Down Syndrome, there are resources at your disposal, including those services like Dr. SmartPhone MD, which gives you immediate access to a physician licensed to practice in your state who can give you some sound advice about the need for prenatal monitoring.
- Brain protein discovery could benefit Down’s syndrome children (thetimes.co.uk)
- Down’s syndrome brain protein loss (bbc.co.uk)
- Common Pediatric Disorders: Understanding the Causes of Down Syndrome (pediatrics.answers.com)
- Further potential insight into the complex neuropathology of Down’s syndrome (medicalxpress.com)