Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that’s characteristics include physical growth delay, affected facial features and some moderate/severe cognitive disability. Down Syndrome is caused due to some (or all) of a third cop of chromosome 21 (there are standardly two copies of this chromosome). The third chromosome is not due to genetics coming from either parent, and is usually created by chance. The likelihood of the extra chromosome is less than 0.1% in younger mothers (early 20s) but is increased over 300 times to 3% in 45 year old mothers.
It is possible for Down Syndrome to be detected during pregnancy, allowing the parent to decide whether they feel the pregnancy should still go ahead.
There is no cure for Down Syndrome, though there are measures that can be taken to improve the quality of life the person with DS has (such as additional care/support and attending school).
Mainstream schools can cater for some children with DS, however in some occasions a more specialist setting is best to provide the appropriate amount of care that is required for the specific child.
People with DS tend to have a poor immune system, and they are sometimes delayed in reaching developmental milestones.
One thing to be sure to be aware of, is that there are a number of health issues that people with DS have an increased risk of having, which are;
- Congenital Heart Anomaly
- Thyroid Desease
- Mental Disorders (such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders etc.)
If you require further information, or support with regards to Down Syndrome, please feel free to use the forums to ask one of our knowledgeable members!