All children that are born with Downs Syndrome (previously called ‘mongolism’) have a common characteristic appearance and may also share similar congenital birth defects.
Dr John Downs, of whom the condition is so named after, found that children who were born with these similar characteristics and that after testing were complete. It was found that there was a common chromosome abnormality, which is known as ‘Trisomy 21’ (Cunningham, 1996).
Every pregnant woman is at risk of having a Downs Syndrome child. For example 1 in 1,000 women who are 28yrs will give birth to a child with this condition. However, the risk is much greater with a woman who is 38yrs, increasing the risk by approximately 1 in 200 births.
Until recently, it was thought that a woman’s age was the only indicator to the risk involved. However, advances in medical practise can now carry out tests out by looking at a woman’s hormone and protein levels during pregnancy. Also with the information of the expectant mother’s age and the use of maternal screening, two thirds of Downs Syndrome infants can be identified whilst still in the womb.
Research into the origins of Downs Syndrome has been carried out worldwide all with one common question in mind; is the condition genetic, thus making it hereditary?
However, research that has been carried out has found, that children born with this condition have the same genetic makeup as a child born without the condition. However, there is one difference and that is a child born with Downs Syndrome, will have an extra chromosome.
By having just one chromosome extra is enough to tip the finely tuned balance of the human body and will in turn produce physical and intellectual characteristics that are found in Downs Syndrome.
It is commonly known that genes are passed from parent to child. And those most have two copies of every gene. In general one copy is passed on from both mother and father at the time of conception. The genes are made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The arrangement of chemicals in the DNA strand is different for every gene (Cunningham, 1996). The genes are grouped together in long thin, thread like strands called chromosomes. Therefore, it is these chromosomes that carry the essential information, which will determine how we look, how healthy we are and whether there will be c...
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...statements in to context, it is meant that essentially this is the ‘social model of disability’. In simple terms, this means that it is the environment (both physically and society’s attitudes), which are the problems and not the condition that leads to physical mental impairments. With this model, the emphasis is on overcoming the negative environments so that a person with different needs, qualities and attributes can feel included in that community.
As the human race goes forward into the new millennium, is not time that we pick up those less able and carry them with us, instead of leaving them behind hoping the problem may go away ?…
Carr. J. (1995): Downs Syndrome: Children Growing Up. London: Cambridge University Press.
Cassell. S. (1996): New Approaches To Downs Syndrome. London: Brian Stratford & Pat Gunn.
Cunningham. C. (1996): Downs Syndrome: An Introduction For Parents. London: Souvenir Press.
Rees. P. (1992): Heart Children.
Surrey: Heart Line Association.
Selikowitz. M. (1997): Downs Syndrome: The Facts.
London: Oxford University Press.
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