Down’s Syndrome/Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features. The number of cases of Down syndrome is increasing in present day, it is estimated that 32000 babies with Down syndrome are born every year in India.
What causes Down syndrome? Normally humans have 46 chromosomes, in case of Down syndrome there is an extra copy of chromosome 21 in baby, leading to 47 chromosomes. This extra chromosome changes the way body or brain develops, leading to Down’s features. Increased age of mother when she gets pregnant, Siblings with Down’s Syndrome has an association with an extra chromosome getting added to baby’s cells.
Symptoms of Down’s syndrome – Common features seen in children with Down’s syndrome are –
- Flat face
- Small ears
- Slanting eyes
- Small mouth
- Short neck, arms and legs
- Below average intelligence
- Single, thick, transverse line on the palms
- Low muscle tone
How is Down’s syndrome diagnosed? Down’s syndrome can be diagnosed prenatally i.e., even before the child is born. Tests can be done during your first or second trimester i.e., before the completion of 6 months. Tests include –
- Blood tests
- Amniocentesis or Chorionic Villus Sampling
In some conditions, Down’s can be diagnosed after the birth of the baby as well, physical features and blood tests will help in diagnosis in that condition.
Life with Down’s syndrome – Down’s has no cure, but child can lead a normal, joyous and happy life with assistance from parents. Down’s kids have rights to live healthy, as a parent your assistance includes –
- Learn all you can about the syndrome
- Look into school options available for your child
- Provide your child access to quality healthcare
Down’s syndrome usually has associated medical problems, so early intervention helps to avoid complications. Raising a child with the disability is challenging and rewarding. Take time, never be disappointed, and talk with other similar parents. Never discourage your child or show your aggression.
Be more than well. Be well prepared.