Down syndrome is a serious genetic issue. The condition is also called as Trisomy 21. This syndrome is recorded in 1 out of every 800 successful child deliveries. Down syndrome is said to be the chief factor causing cognitive difficulties recorded in the medical industry. The severity of the condition may vary significantly. This is why development issues faced by every affected child may also differ as well as range from moderate to extreme. This anomaly is considered as the most common cause of learning difficulties in children. Gaining knowledge and detecting as well as treating the condition earlier is significantly beneficial for Down syndrome affected adults and children.
Down syndrome symptoms
Understanding the symptoms of Down syndrome will help you understand whether your child is affected with it. There are several symptoms associated with the condition including behavioral anomaly, physical deformities, etc. Some of these symptoms are mentioned below.
- Flat facial appearance including face features
- Smaller head size
- Distinctly shorter neck
- Protruded or thrusting tongue
- Upward slanting eye
- Slightly deformed ears
Other symptoms that may affect children with Down syndrome
- Poor tone of muscle
- Broader but shorter hands with just one crease on the palm
- Shorter fingers than normal
- Anomalously augmented flexibility
Infants born with the condition may be of average size during birth but they may grow slower than normal. This is why they may remain shorter as compared to other children of same age. Generally the developmental growth in child such as crawling, sitting, etc would take double the time needed by a normal child. Children affected with the condition are also diagnosed with mental retardation to some extent commonly ranging from mild to moderate severity.
Causes of Down syndrome
Down syndrome occurs due to genetic anomalies. The condition usually occurs due to additional copy of genetic material either on one part or the entire chromosome 21. In human body every cell carries genes that are accumulated together along with chromosomes in the center of the every cell. Generally, there are 46 chromosomes in every cell. Out of these 46 chromosomes, 23 are inherited from father while remaining 23 are taken from the mother. In cases where there is an extra copy of entire 21st chromosome or even a part of it, the child may be born with Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is also sometimes called as Trisomy 21 but Trisomy 21 is one of the kinds of Down syndrome and in fact the most common one. This is a condition wherein the affected child may have 47 chromosomes in ever cell rather than the normal count of 46 chromosomes. This is often caused due to nondisjunction which is erroneous cell division. This causes the sperm to have an extra copy of 21st chromosome during or before conception. The condition Trisomy 21 is recorded in approximately 95% of Down syndrome cases. Out of these 95% around 88% are caused due to nondisjunction. The remaining cases of Down syndrome are resulted due to mosaicism or translocation.
Treatment for Down syndrome
Early medical intervention in the Down syndrome affected child’s life would significantly help the child by improving his daily living activities and quality of life. To start with, you first need to work with your doctor and determine whether your child is affected with the condition. If your child is diagnosed with Down syndrome then you need to work with experts who would help your child develop specific abilities. Find about specialized programs in your area. These specialized programs help your child to develop speech, social skills, self-help abilities, motor skills and cognitive ability. These programs may have different modules which may vary from location to location or depend on institutions. Such support programs are available almost everywhere.
These programs will have therapists and specialized educators working closely with your child. These experts will enhance various abilities of your child including motor abilities, language skills, behavior etc. If your child is affected with the condition then you may have to work with a team of experts. These experts will analyze the severity and types of difficulties suffered by your child. They will then suggest about medial care and needed help you deal with the situations and develop your child’s ability optimally. Specialists that would make your team of experts may include.
- Pediatric neurologist
- A pediatric cardiologist
- Occupational therapist
- A pediatric gastroenterologist
- Speech expert or Speech pathologist
- A pediatric endocrinologist
- A physical therapist
- Development pediatrician
- An audiologist
As mentioned earlier, Down syndrome affected children may take twice the time needed by a normal child to develop abilities. But with early medical intervention the child may develop such abilities much faster. Such children are often sent to special schools where they are taught specific abilities that would improve their quality of life. It is uncommon for such children to attend conventional schools and have a restored life.
Down Syndrome Pictures