March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, on the occasion of the same we thought to spread the awareness about it and to present some facts…
He is 14 but goes to class 5! He has a different facial structure. A little longer tongue, big head, small and peculiarly shaped ears, and chubby unusual fingers. He can’t speak fast leave aside walking and running. He speaks slow. No! He isn’t mentally retarded. Krishna is smart. He is compassionate. He is fun to be around and yes, he loves unconditionally!
He is a little slow but just uniquely gifted as all other kids. Only that he has inherited a genetic anomaly which makes him a labeled as a child with Down-Syndrome. There are many other Down-Syndrome children who are misconstrued for being mentally retarded when they are not. Lack of awareness about
this syndrome in Indian society is the primary reason for such misconception.
Down-Syndrome in lay-man language means that the child is slow in reaching developmental milestones in its life. Science says that this syndrome is caused when a child has 3 copies of the 21st chromosome than the usual 2 copies. This state where there is an error in cell-division before or at conception leaves the cell with an extra chromosome-21 and this condition is also known as Trisomy 21. This may lead to some level of intellectual disability in the child but doesn’t certainly make the child mentally challenged. Statistics say that this genetic condition is very common with a ratio of 1 in 800 live births getting affected by it every year,in the US.
Is it a curse in the family or the wrath of the Goddess? Why does this happen?Are these children abnormal? When do we get to know this? Is it fatal? How to raise these children? Is there a cure for this condition?
These are a few panic questions which are faced immediately by a doctor after a child is diagnosed with this Syndrome. The disappointment which a parent undergoes on realizing and understanding the question initially exhibits itself in the form of denial. There are parents who denied the condition for years and lost their time which could have otherwise been used for a happy, healthy and loving co-existence with the child.
It is important to understand and accept that life comes in many shapes, sizes,colors,and dimensions! Life is uncertain and that is what makes it more beautiful. Isn’t it?
“Acceptance of the condition and the child is the first and foremost important step to raise a child with Down Syndrome”!
- A Down Syndrome child is a perfectly normal child, but the imperfect society makes it abnormal to have a special child with special needs. Yes! The syndrome is neither fatal and nor is it the wrath of the Goddess. It is a simple condition which makes the child way different than the regular flocks of doctors, engineers, and other rat-racers.
- Sadly, there exists no cure for this genetical disorder but it can be diagnosed in prenatal diagnosis when the mothers are 14-18 week pregnant. Nowadays diagnostic tests and screening tests are recommended to all mothers irrespective of their age. In case, the fetus is diagnosed with this medical condition, then it is left to the decision of the parents to abort the child or let the child be born and accept the anomaly.
- There are more myths than proper information associated with this syndrome. Another popular myth is that older women (age > 35) are prone to give birth to a child with Down Syndrome. People also feel that
- Down-Syndrome is not a contagious Disease. It is mandatory to understand that children are born with this syndrome.It is a chromosomal abnormality and cannot be caught by others like any infection.There doesn’t exist any vaccine or medicine which can prevent the occurrence of this syndrome. This syndrome may be inherited by a child from its parents but mostly it is due to the chromosomal addition to the cell.
- It is utmost important for a parent and others in society to understand the syndrome and to accept the child born with it. Children need love and affection to grow. They thrive on positive reinforcement and special children are no different. The only factor which changes the ball game is a parent’s confident approach to raise a special child. Easier said than done, unconditional love and living life in the given moment can pave a successful path ahead for the child.
In our next blog post, we will bring to you more about parenting special children and also share some first-hand success stories.