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Down Syndrome

What is Down Syndrome?


Down syndrome is the most common and readily identifiable chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disabilities. It is caused by a chromosomal abnormality: for some unknown reason, an accident in cell development results in 47 instead of the usual 46 chromosomes. This extra chromosome changes the orderly development of the body and brain. In most cases, the diagnosis of Down syndrome is made according to results from a chromosome test administered shortly after birth.

Just as in the normal population, there is a wide variation in mental abilities, behavior, and developmental progress in individuals with Down syndrome. Their level of intellectual disability may range from mild to severe, with the majority functioning in the mild to moderate range.

Because children with Down syndrome differ in ability, it’s important that families and members of the intervention team place few limitations on potential capabilities and possible achievements. Each child with Down syndrome has his or her own talents and unique capacities, and it’s important to recognize these and reinforce them. As the Family Doctor website states:

In many important ways, children who have Down syndrome are very much the same as other children. They have the same moods and emotions, and they like to learn new things, to play and enjoy life. You can help your child by providing as many chances as possible for him or her to do these things. Read to your child and play with him or her, just as you would any other child. Help your child to have positive experiences with new people and places.

 

How Common is Down Syndrome?

Nearly 5,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States each year. (1) This means that 1 in every 733 babies is born with this condition. (2) Although parents of any age may have a child with Down syndrome, 80% are born to women under the age of 35. (3)

Down syndrome is not a disease, nor is it contagious. Its most common forms usually do not occur more than once in a family.

 

What Are the Signs of Down Syndrome?

There are over 50 clinical signs of Down syndrome, but it is rare to find all or even most of them in one person. Every child with Down syndrome is different. Some common characteristics include:

  • Poor muscle tone;
  • Slanting eyes with folds of skin at the inner corners (called epicanthal folds);
  • Hyperflexibility (excessive ability to extend the joints);
  • Short, broad hands with a single crease across the palm on one or both hands;
  • Broad feet with short toes;
  • Flat bridge of the nose;
  • Short, low-set ears; and
  • Short neck and small head;
  • Small oral cavity; and/or
  • Short, high-pitched cries in infancy.

Individuals with Down syndrome are usually smaller than their nondisabled peers, and their physical as well as intellectual development is slower.

Tips for Parents

  • Learn about Down syndrome. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child. See the list of organizations below.
  • Love and play with your child. Treat your son or daughter as you would a child without disabilities. Take your child places, read together, have fun.
  • Encourage your child to be independent. For example, help your son or daughter learn self-care skills such as getting dressed, grooming, and doing laundry.
  • Give your child chores. Keep in mind his or her age, mental capacity, attention span, and abilities. Divide tasks into small steps. Explain what your child is supposed to do, step by step, until the chore is done. Demonstrate. Offer help when it’s needed and praise when things go well.
  • Work with the professionals who are working with your child. Participate in team meetings where your child’s education or program is being planned, share your unique knowledge of who your son or daughter is, advocate that the program address your child’s needs.
  • Find out what your child is learning at school. Look for ways to apply it at home. For example, if the teacher is reviewing concepts of money, take your child to the supermarket with you to help keep track of what money you’re spending.
  • Look for social opportunities in the community (such as Scouts) or activities offered through the department of sports and leisure. Joining in and taking part will help your child develop social skills and have fun.
  • Talk with other parents whose children have Down syndrome. They can be a fountain of practical advice and emotional support. Visit the websites of the organizations listed below to see if they have a parent group nearby.
  • Be patient, be hopeful. Your child, like every child, has a whole lifetime to learn and grow.
  • Take pleasure in your beautiful one. He—she—is a treasure. Learn from your child, too. Those with Down syndrome have a special light within—let it shine.

http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/downsyndrome/

 

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Contact Info

Información de contacto

Alianza Latina Aplicando Soluciones
Ph: 414-643-0022
Fax: 414-643-0023
Alt: Toll Free 866-249-5055
Alasinc@Alianzalatinawi.org

Funded in part by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs-Community Parent Resource Center, Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services-Disability Services Division- Advocacy Program, Parent to Parent of WI, Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Southeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.

 

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) #H328C080018. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education. Project Officer, David E. Emenheiser.

 

        

 


Fundado en parte por el Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos, Oficina de Programas de Educación Especial-Centro de Recursos de Padres de la Comunidad CPRC,  Departamento de Salud y Servicios Sociales del Condado de Milwaukee- División de Servicios de Discapacidades-Programa de Abogacia, Padre a Padre de WI, Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Southeast Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs.

 

El contenido de esta página fue creado por medio de una beca del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos, Oficina de Programas de Educación Especial (OSEP) #H328C080018. El contenido no representa necesariamente las pólizas del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos, y no se debe asumir el respaldo del Gobierno Federal. Las opiniones expresadas son del autor y no necesariamente representan la posición del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos. Project Officer, David E. Emenheiser.

 

 

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