DS or Down Syndrome is also called Trisomy 21 and it is a physical condition where a baby is born with an added chromosome. We are aware of the fact that chromosomes comprise of hundreds and even thousands of genes and genes are responsible for carrying information that decides your characteristic features which are passed to you by your parents. Due to the extra chromosome found in kids with Down Syndrome, there is delay in both mental and physical development.
You must have seen people with DS having certain physical features like eyes slanting upwards and a flatter face. Not only that, they also have medical issues like defect in organs like heart and lungs. Kids with DS find it hard to learn new things like walking or taking care of themselves.
What’s the cause of Down Syndrome?
During conception, a baby inherits the genes from its parents as 46 chromosomes, 23 from the father and 23 from the mother. In majority of the cases of Down Syndrome, a baby gets 1 extra chromosome 21 which adds up to 47 instead of 46. This extra gene causes developmental and physical delays which are usually linked with DS.
No one knows why DS occurs and there is still no surefire way of preventing this chromosomal error which causes this disease. However the scientists believe that women above the age of 35 have a higher risk of having a child with DS.
Effect of Down Syndrome on kids
Protruding tongue, small ears, eyes slanted upwards and flat face are few of the common physical features of a kid with down syndrome. Hypotonia or low muscle tone is yet another trait in babies with DS and this makes them floppy. Although this can sometimes get cured with time, yet the main developmental milestones like crawling, sitting up and walking will occur much later than other kids.
Down syndrome has an impact on how the kid learns different things and most babies suffer from mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Kids surviving with DS can learn things, do things and they’re capable of developing new skills all through their lives. It is just that they reach their goals at a different pace.
Other health problems commonly linked with DS
More than half of the babies with Down Syndrome have in-born heart issues which implies that their hearts develop at a different pace and they also don’t function properly. Such issues can be rectified through surgeries but that can be risky at times. Some others also have intestinal issues which may even need surgeries to fix.
Kids growing with DS are more vulnerable to lung infections and breathing troubles. Their infections last for a longer time than normal kids. They can also develop ear or eye issues or other digestive issues like constipation. There are even cases of kids developing leukemia (a type of cancer) when they suffer from down syndrome.
To conclude, it can be said that kids with down syndrome might look different from other kids as Autism but they should be treated in the same way. They deserve respect, friendship and fairness in all life decisions.