Down Syndrome, congenital malformation accompanied by moderate to severe mental retardation, and caused by a chromosomal abnormality.
The chance of getting Down syndrome is approximately one in 700 births, but the risk varies with the age of the mother. The incidence of Down syndrome in children born to 25-year-old mothers is approximately 1 in 1200; the risk increases to approximately 1 in 120 for women older than 40 years. Prenatal tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling can be used to detect the chromosomal abnormality causing Down syndrome. Maternal blood tests can also suggest the presence of a fetus with Down syndrome when levels of alphafetoprotein are lower than usual, or when levels of unconjugated estriol and human chorionic gonadotrophin are abnormal.
The chromosomal abnormality which generally causes Down syndrome is trisomy-21, or the presence of three 21st chromosomes. As a result, the affected person has 47 chromosomes in all body cells instead of the normal 46. Scientists assume that the reason for the abnormally is the fertilization of an ovum having 24 chromosomes by a sperm with a normal assortment of 23, but they have also found that the sperm can carry the extra chromosome as well. The abnormal ovum or sperm is derived from a germ cell in which the pair of 21st chromosomes holds together and passes into the same sperm or ovum instead of separating. There are two types of Down Syndrome: translocation and mosaicism.
Down syndrome can not yet be treated, but medical care of the disease results in an almost normal life for the persons affected.
In the past, many children with Down syndrome were put in institutions. Today, Most children with Down syndrome participate in public-school programs, and most adults with Down syndrome hold jobs of different types in our society.
Persons with Down syndrome are often short in stature and have a small, round head with a high, flattened forehead. A typical feature is a fold of skin, the epicanthic fold, on either side of the bridge of the nose.. Such persons are also subject to heart defectsmany of which can be corrected surgicallyand are more likely to develop leukemia than “normal” people.
2. Life with Down Syndrome
1. The ostracism related to Down Syndrome
First of all, even if it sounds very logical, its important to say that Down Syndrome isnt usual; its not something that occurs in everybodys life . A minority of people have this disease, and therefore, were not used to this. Maybe it scares us, maybe it makes us laugh, or maybe it makes us feel sorry. Anyway, we feel uncomfortable in these peoples company.
Were not used to confront them in our everyday life ,so it makes it difficult for us to share our lives with them in the same unique society. This is when the phenomenon of ostracism makes its entrance.
Here are two major factors to this ostracism:
– People with Down Syndrome are mentally handicapped, and can therefore not accomplish the same intellectual tasks as “normal” people. Of course, it depends on how severe the handicap is, but in most of the cases, this is true. So the society does not accept from the intellectual point of view.
– Persons with Down Syndrome dont look the same way as we do.
Sometimes, theyre even physically handicapped. This makes it difficult for them to participate in our physical activities , which sometimes even run our lives. Sports are one of these activities. One can say its a good thing there has been arranged games for these people, but doesnt this attend to separate them even more from our society ?In a way ,it does.
I will conclude by saying that its a fact , this ostracism really exists . But isnt it human ? Sometimes one just cannot control their feelings.
Its nature, its the way we are .And actually , theres nothing more to it . At least , for the moment .A change of mentality is a long process. The people concerned must in a way accept this, as long as theyre not made fun of or discriminated. And again, as in the issue of racism, tolerance is the key.
We cant be asked to like them, but .