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Down's merry men

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Bernice Clark |
Downs syndromeApproximately one of 650 of all new born babies has Down's syndrome, the chromosomal disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome.


Normally, people have 46 chromosomes in their body cells, two groups of 23 chromosomes. The chromosomes are numbered from 1 to 22 and the chromosome 23 is a sex chromosome. Because of presence of an extra 21st chromosome babies with Down's syndrome have 47 chromosomes, one chromosome more. There are three situations that can cause the appearance of an extra 21st chromosome, thus the name trisomy 21, and more than 50 characteristics of Down's syndrome.

The number of those characteristics and their intensity vary from child to child, thus the symptoms in person with Down's syndrome range from mild to serious and severe. Heart disorders, thyroid disease, problems with hearing, eyesight and digestion, Alzheimer disease and leukaemia are just some of the health problems that may be caused by Down's syndrome. While growing up those children need special attention through developmental paediatrician and speech pathologist treatments, physiotherapy and special methods of learning. Down's syndrome can be diagnosed before child's birth by analysing amniotic fluid and doing amniocenteses in 16th week of pregnancy. Although risk of birth child with Down's syndrome rises with mother's age, around 80 percent of Down's children are born by mothers younger than 35 years.

Downs syndromeChildren with Down's syndrome have small rounded head and flat back of the head. They have aslant "Mongoloid" eyes, small nose and small mouth with unproportionally big tongue, small and unusually shaped ears. Joints are exceptionally movable and flexible, muscles are flabby, chest is unusually shaped. Fists are wide and short with relatively short fingers. On one or both palms a horizontal line may be visible. People with Down's syndrome usually have more spaced big toe and the toe next to it.

All children with Down's syndrome goes through the same phases while growing up as any other child. But their entering a particular phase is slower and begins later, and the phase lasts longer. Children with Down's syndrome are warm, exceptionally good-hearted, merry children, which communicate with their environment very well, closely imitating behaviour of people around them and they are creative if they creativity is detected. More and more children with Down's syndrome are integrated in regular forms of education and more and more adults are actively involved in society. People with Down's live longer today (almost 80 percent lives until 55 years of age) thanks to medicine.

Downs syndromeFor parents it is important not to waste time on questioning way that happens to them. As soon child with Down's syndrome become involved in therapy it is more possible that he will have quality living. For parents with Down's child it is important to enjoy their child. That way the others will accept him, too, because they are the valuable members of society.

Don't expect too much and enjoy in every moment. Believe that your child greatly enriches people around him. Believe in yourself. You know your child best and you can achieve what ever you wish. Don't be alone, ask for help and what is more important change the definition of a successful child. Your child is different and for him the success is something else. Be persistent and fight because problems of all kinds will always follow you.

Be a parent to your child, this is your the most important task in his life. No matter how hard it is let joyful moments give you strength. Remember that every new day is different, some are easier, some are harder. Sometimes you will manage to do everything you want, sometimes nothing. Think about yourself, take a rest and cheer yourself. Only when you are relaxed and happy you will have strength to move further.

If you feel that this is too much for you, cry and be sad, those are normal feelings. Don't forget your spouse. You are both under stress and need each other. Be the family and stay close to each other. Take care about your other children, your special child will not lose anything. Take your situation as the life school. Your special child gives you the most essential reasons for living.

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