Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder resulting from chromosomal aberration. Usually, a person is born with 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 chromosomes in total). In the case of a Down Syndrome, there is a total of 47 chromosomes (an extra complete or partial chromosome appearing in the 21st pair). This extra chromosome is the main wrecker in chief that triggers the behavioral and developmental alterations characteristic of Down Syndrome.
Depending on the distribution of the chromosome during cell division, Down Syndrome may be triggered by three conditions
- Trisomy 21: One of the most common causes of Down Syndrome, Trisomy 21 is characterized by the presence of an extra chromosome in chromosome 21.
- Translocation Down syndrome: As the name suggests, here a part of the chromosome 21 translocates itself to some other chromosome. There will be no trisomy on chromosome 21. However, there will be extra genetic material resulting from the chromosome containing the translocated portion of chromosome 21.
- Mosaic Down Syndrome: This is a rare condition where some cells will have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs) while few others will have 47 chromosomes (trisomy 21).
Symptoms characteristic of Down Syndrome
Some of the symptoms synonymous to Down Syndrome include
- The face appears flattened with a short mouth and a protruding tongue.
- The ears, neck, arms, and legs are shorter than usual.
- Children and adults with Down Syndrome usually have a short stature.
- The muscles also lack proper tone.
- Children with Down Syndrome are often found to have impaired cognitive ability. The condition also affects the memory, both short, as well as long-term.
Managing a child with Down Syndrome
No parent would ever want their child to suffer from Down Syndrome. Along with the medications and therapies, as a parent, you should also be prepared to manage the situation well.
- The situation is by no means easy for you, but if you get weak or panic, things will only go from bad to worse. Thus, you need to be strong.
- Be in constant touch with the attending physician to know the progress of your child.
- If your child is still very young, get them enrolled in the special enhancement programs. These programs play a significant role in improving the language, motor movements, as well as developing the various self-help skills in the Down Syndrome children.
- Connect with families dealing with identical situations. Discussing your problems with them or learning about theirs can help in better management.
- Your concern for the child is understood but do not snatch their independence. Give them the freedom they deserve. They might make mistakes, but it will help build their confidence.
- If the situation demands, get your child admitted to schools which are specially designed for such children.
- Do not keep your child confined within the four walls of the home. Take them outside. Let them interact with people. Indulge in family outings and get-togethers.
- The situation may be difficult but not impossible. Have faith and do what is in your hands.