Welcome!

This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10/6/10

With the Buddy Walk of Atlanta approaching, I wanted to share some facts & myths about Down syndrome.  Everyone needs to be educated about Down syndrome!
Named after John Langdon Down, the first physician to identify the syndrome, Down syndrome is the most frequent genetic cause of mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities and associated medical problems and occurs in one out of 800 live births, in all races and economic groups. Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in the presence of an additional third chromosome 21 or "trisomy 21."

Some of the most common characteristics of people with Down syndrome include:
· A flattened appearance to the face
· A high, broad forehead
· An upward slant to the eyes
· A narrow slit to the eyes
· Pronounced bags or folds under the eyes
· A small, depressed nose
· Small ears
· Ears set quite low to the face
· A small mouth
· A large or protruding tongue
· A short neck
· Short arms and legs
· Short fingers and toes
· Large space between the first and second toe
· A single, deep crease in the center of the palm
· A smaller head, proportionately
· Poor muscle tone (hypotonia)
· Loose joints (hyperflexability)
· Weak reflexes

There are several medical concerns that are specific to Down syndrome, or at the very least, occur in much higher incidence than in people who do not have the condition. However, with proper identification, information, and treatment of the medical issues of children and adults with Down syndrome, most people with the condition live a fairly long and health life. The current average life span of a person with Down syndrome is fifty-five years, with many living decades longer.

The most serious of the medical characteristics associated with Down syndrome is cardiac abnormalities. Approximately 40% of all children born with the condition have congenital heart defects, and many of them are serious in nature. Proper cardiac monitoring of children with Down syndrome is imperative, and should begin as soon the child is born, or the condition is identified. Many of the heart problems experienced by people with Down syndrome are progressive. Medication and lifelong cardiac following is not uncommon, and in some cases, heart surgery may be indicated.

Children with Down syndrome also commonly exhibit a depressed immune system. Because of this, they tend have a higher incidence of infection, and respiratory problems, not to mention frequency of the usual cough, cold and flu viruses experienced my all children.

Other medical problems include epilepsy, vision and hearing problems, gastrointestinal and thyroid problems, skin problems, and various other medical conditions. People with Down syndrome also have a strong tendency toward developing obesity.

There is an extremely wide disparity among people with Down syndrome in the issues of cognitive or developmental delay. With very few exceptions, people with Down syndrome exhibit some developmental problems, but the range can span from almost imperceivable to severe, or profound.

Many people with Down syndrome can attend school with their non Down syndrome peers, attain higher education, and work full time at jobs in the community with little or not assistance. Others require more help and may either attend special education classes in their school or a school for the developmentally delayed. They may also require residential and workplace assistance in a structured environment.

Behaviorally and interpersonally, one of the most striking common traits among a large percentage of people with Down syndrome is a loving and affectionate nature. It is not uncommon for a person with the condition to bond easily and frequently with others, including with strangers or people they know only a little.

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