Today is World Down Syndrome Day. This day exists to help create awareness about Down Syndrome, the common misconceptions and how the kids that are gifted with an extra chromosome can turn out to be some of the most awesome people you will meet in your life.
— World DS Day (@WorldDSDay) March 17, 2017
Children are a blessing, whether they are born with 46 chromosomes or 47.
Relativity of the Term “Normal”
The term normal is relative, don’t you think? How can there be one definition of normal when each family has its own version of it? How can what is normal to me also be normal to you, and vice versa?
A person that is witnessing a story can never truly feel what the people going through it feel. Once can only try to empathize.
If a child with Down Syndrome is born into a family, the family go through a myriad of emotions in terms of public criticisms, regular doctor visits and several expensive treatments and tests. Without the criticism alone, the family goes through a lot as they know that the child that is born with an extra chromosome will have a difficult life.
But that doesn’t in any way mean that the child is undeserving of love, in fact, he now needs it more than ever.
What is Down Syndrome?
Each human being has 46 chromosomes in their making that are divided into 26 sets. Each set has 2 chromosomes. A Down Syndrome baby has a total of 47 chromosomes in his making as there is one extra chromosome in the set 21. This syndrome alters not only the physical appearance of the kid but also mental to some extent.
Life of Kids With Down Syndrome
In the past, a DS baby did not have a long life expectancy whereas now, a kid with Down Syndrome grows up to be 60 years of age and can become an active member of the society. Kids with this syndrome take more time to accomplish simple milestones that other kids race by such as talking, crawling and even eating. You can expect a kid with Down Syndrome to walk as late as 26 months instead of the average 14. As far as the mental development goes, DS babies are slow but that doesn’t mean that they cannot take part in the society. While some suffer from mild mental deficits, most have none at all.
An estimate of 1 in every 830 babies born are born with Down Syndrome. This genetic error happens during the time of conception and it can either originate from the mother or the father.
Kids with Down Syndrome have a distinctive physical appearance that differentiates them from the rest of the society. Those physical aspects include low muscle tone, eyes with an upward slant, a small neck, a protruding and creased tongue and a flat nasal bridge.
Say YES To The Tests
There are ways to determine whether your child has an extra chromosome before he is born with the help of special tests. That can give you some time to prepare yourself so that when your baby comes into the world, you have a proper perspective on things and you can put your baby first. With the help of a blood test, your doctor will check the levels of Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. If the result of this test is abnormal then that could indicate that your baby might contain an extra chromosome.
Spread Love With Awareness
We are not going to lie and tell you that life as a parent of a Down Syndrome baby is going to be easy because it is not. The bottom line is the same, your kid will have a difficult life. You will be overwhelmed with pain as you think about the difficulties your kid will face in terms of being the center of attention and ridicule throughout his or her life.
The only thing that will make this journey easy for both you and your child is awareness about what is happening and how to best cope with it, despite what people say.
But Remember: All Life is Precious.
Pakistan is making constant medical advances and people are becoming more and more open to change. We are not going to call a Down Syndrome baby “abnormal” because that would be a wrong justification. It’s a different kind of diversity and one we should all be proud of.
Children with an extra chromosome are some of the most positive and uplifting people that you will meet. By extension to them, the families that they have been born into become more compassionate and accepting of change. They become more protective of one another.
Spread awareness, not criticism.