“The Truth About Trisomy 21″
Halloween is right around the corner, autumn is in full swing, and pumpkins are bountiful. October is here and it is especially meaningful because it is Down syndrome Awareness Month! About one in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome, reaching a total of about 6,000 per year. According to an article in The Huffington Post, here is a list of ten myths and over generalizations that our culture needs to become better informed.
- Is Always Happy – Not the Case. Every child has a range of emotions that they experience and demonstrate. The terrible twos are tough for any parent!
- Looks the Same – Wrong. Common characteristics include small stature, upward slanting eyes, and flat facial features, but children possess these traits to different degrees or sometimes not at all.
- Has a short life expectancy – Inaccurate. It has increased from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.
- Requires special needs classes – False. Some need extra support while other children are perfectly fine being mainstreamed in general education classes.
- Is delayed similarly both physically & cognitively – Incorrect. Strengths and weaknesses differ with all children. Down syndrome has a spectrum and all children are affected differently.
- Will never be self-sufficient – Untrue. Levels of capability are on a case by case basis. Children with Down syndrome can grow up to have jobs, live on their own, get married, become parents and meaningfully contribute to society.
- Was born to an older mother – Invalid. Women under the age of 35 birth 80% of the babies born with Down syndrome.
- Has limited emotional intelligence – Erroneous. Never underestimate how emotionally astute a child with Down syndrome can be. Empathy and kindness don’t stem from a specific number of chromosomes.
- Is socially unaware – Unfounded. Receptive language skills vary and children with Down syndrome are just as likely to know what is going on around them and develop an appropriate response.
- The product of a genetic defect, mutation, or mistake – Nope. All children are a gift. Children with Down syndrome are simply chromosomally enhanced.