The World Down Syndrome Day was first celebrated 12 years ago with the aim of creating public awareness on down syndrome. Did you know that each year 3,000-5,000 children are born with Down Syndrome worldwide?
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which is mostly caused by a gene mutation that takes place before birth; involving full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This occurrence alters a child’s development causing a set of physical and mental traits.
Causes of Down Syndrome
Extra chromosome 21 is the main cause of down syndrome or other genetic abnormalities that can lead to down syndrome.
Diagnosis of Down Syndrome
Most times, this condition is diagnosed when the foetus is still in the womb through routine screening. When down syndrome is detected, other more specific tests are carried out. This are:
Chronic villus sampling: When the foetus is 8-12 weeks, a sample of the placenta is taken using a needle to help in chromosome analysis.
Amniocentesis: This test is done when the foetus is 15-20 weeks old. A sample of the amniotic fluid is taken from the uterus using a needle and used to check for trisomy 21.
Percutaneous umbilical cord sampling: It is done when the foetus is past 20 weeks by obtaining a sample of blood from the umbilical cord to help in analysing the chromosomes.
Treatment and Management
Down syndrome is not a disease like others that have treatment and can be cured. It is a life long condition that has no specific treatment but can be managed to have better quality of life for those who have the condition. The management of down syndrome involves:
Physical therapy: This is to help in the development of the child especially with the problems most children with down syndrome experience such as trouble walking, talking.
Treatment of underlying conditions: Children with down syndrome have a higher risk of developing heart problems, hearing problems, breathing among other conditions. Ensuring that a child with down syndrome is treated for such conditions plays a huge role in bettering their health.
Regular check-ups: As stated above, children with down syndrome have a higher risk of developing certain health complications. Therefore, by ensuring that your child gets regular check-ups, there are better chances of treating the conditions in their early stages enabling the child to live without having to cope with other conditions other than the down syndrome.
Nutrition: A good diet is advisable to all children including children with down syndrome. This not only helps in the healthy development of the child but also in having a strong immunity that keeps other illnesses away.
Love and care: All children need to be shown the love and care they require as they grow and children with down syndrome are not exempted from that. Parents or care givers of such children should ensure that those children are taken care of with love so that they can feel appreciated which in turn gives them the confidence to take up the opportunities that they have to be useful members of society.
This year, the theme for the World Down Syndrome Day-What I Bring To My Community, focuses on putting emphasis on the fact that people with down syndrome must have opportunities to contribute to the community and live valued lives, included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society.
Every person who lives with down syndrome must be given the opportunity to contribute to society by being included fully in every aspect of the society. As a parent, you can make that possible for your child only if you take an active role in their life and allow them to reach their full potential without letting down syndrome block their success.
As we celebrate this day, let us create more awareness on this condition and offer support to those that live with down syndrome, those that take care of them and the organisations that support these two groups.
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