People with Down syndrome are no different than you and I. They are trying to live a normal day to day life like everyone else, just with a few different challenges. They are surprising us daily with how much they are able to accomplish with help from other and as independent people.
Down syndrome is the most frequent occurring chromosome disorder. It is also the leading cause of intellectual and developmental delay in the United States and in the world. Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, who was the first to categorize the common features of people with the cognitive disability. Dr. Jerome Lejeune discovered this genetic disorder, where a person’s 21st chromosome is copied three times instead of twice. There are rare forms of Down syndrome such as Translocation or Mosaic Downs. Mosaic Downs mean that not all of the person’s cells carry the extra chromosome. In hereditary Translocation Down Syndrome, with is close to 2% of people with the disorder, an extra chromosome is inherited. Less than 6% of people born with the disorder have this form.
The cause of Down syndrome is that for some reason when the baby is developing before it is born, their 21st chromosome does not separate. The result is that the egg in the mother is fertilized and the baby is born with three copies of chromosome 21 in each cell. The cause of the cell not splitting is unknown. The risk of a mother having a child born with Down syndrome increases the longer a mother waits to have a child. Since younger women have more babies, 80% of babies born with Down syndrome are born to women younger than thirty-five. Having a baby born with Down syndrome has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, nationality, status, religion or anything the parents did during pregnancy.
The Center for Disease Control in 2011 estimated that 1child in 691 births is born with Down syndrome. There is an inaccurate assumption that 90% of women diagnosed with their child possibly having Down syndrome terminate. In 2012 a more narrowed study was done on terminations in the United States. It was estimated that between the years of 1995 and 2011 only 67% of births were terminated. Nobody really knows the actual population of people with the cognitive disorder, but most 38% of people in the world know someone with the disorder.
People born with Down syndrome do some share common features, but still look like their immediate family. The features are short stature, round face, and almond-shaped and up slanting eyes. The life expectancy of a person with this genetic disorder is about sixty-five years of age where it used to be only twenty-five. This is due to the end of inhumane practice of institutionalizing people with Down syndrome. Over the years the IQ of people with Down syndrome has increased. 39.4% of people with a mild intellectual disability have an IQ between 50 and 70. The 70-80 IQ range is where the 1% of borderline intellectual functioning lie. The average IQ of a person with Down syndrome is between 70 and 130. People with Down syndrome have physical and or intellectual disabilities. Some of these disabilities are impossible to predict early on. By law, they are required to get a free public education. There are an increasing number of people with Down syndrome growing up and living independently. There is also a small but growing number of people with the disorder getting married and living together as a couple.
People with Down syndrome are predisposed to certain conditions such as congenital heart failure defects, sleep apnea, and Alzheimer’s. Evidence shows that there is an increased risk of a person with the disorder to have celiac disease, autism, childhood leukemia and seizures, but many won’t have any of these conditions. It is also rare for them to have a solid cancerous tumor or cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Medical care is very important and makes a major difference in their physical and intellectual