What is Down Syndrome?/What Is It Not?
Down syndrome is a genetic difference, a chromosomal abnormality. Down Syndrome is a genetic difference that results from the presence of an extra chromosome in the 21st chromosome pair of a person as a result of a genetic disorder. In the simplest terms, while the number of chromosomes in an ordinary human body is 46, this number is 47 in individuals with Down syndrome due to the fact that there are three 21st chromosomes.
There is no medical treatment that will cure or eradicate Down syndrome. Because Down Syndrome is not a disease that needs to be treated, it is a genetic difference. It occurs when an extra chromosome is included in the 21st chromosome pair as a result of incorrect division during cell division. Education is the only way to reintegrate individuals with Down syndrome into society and improve their living standards. The only factor known to cause Down syndrome is the gestational age, the risk of the baby being born with Down syndrome increases in pregnancies over the age of 35. However, because young women in general have more babies, 75-80% of children with Down syndrome are babies of young mothers. There is no difference in country, nationality, socio-economic status. It occurs on average one in every 800 births. It is said that around 6 million individuals with Down syndrome live all over the world. Although there is no complete data, it is estimated that there are approximately 70,000 people with Down syndrome in Turkey. Down Syndrome, with exceptions, causes mild or moderate mental and physical developmental delay in individuals.
There are 3 types of Down Syndrome: Trisomy 21, Translocation and Mosaic.
How Is Down Syndrome Diagnosed?
As the diagnosis of Down Syndrome will be made after the birth, although the results are not 100% certain before the birth today, all pregnant women can be offered screening tests for Down syndrome and a diagnosis of Down syndrome can be made before the child is born.
Early diagnosis is very important for children with Down Syndrome, as well as other children with mental disabilities, in need of special education, so that they can be educated and reintegrated into society. The diagnosis of Down syndrome is usually made shortly after birth. found in child
Many physical characteristics may be associated with this condition, which may raise the suspicion of a child with Down syndrome in a parent or medical professional. Many of these traits are also found in the general population. Therefore, before a positive diagnosis is made, chromosome analysis of the family should be performed and cardiographic tests should be applied.
What Are the Characteristics of Individuals with Down Syndrome?
Some physical features seen in people with Down syndrome; slanted little eyes, flat nose, short fingers, curled little finger, thick neck, single line on the palm, the big toe being wider than the other fingers… etc. All or some of these features can be seen in individuals with Down Syndrome.
Babies with Down syndrome grow more slowly than their peers, with exceptions, and although their mental development lags behind, they can have the capacity to achieve many successes with appropriate, regular and disciplined education programs, and they can continue their lives in society like other people. Individuals with Down Syndrome working in Down Cafe operating in various cities of our country, especially in Istanbul-Şişli, are the best examples of this.
Individuals with Down Syndrome are generally shorter than their peers and their metabolisms work slowly. If they do not acquire the right eating habits due to the slow work of their metabolism, they may experience weight problems in later ages.
Individuals with Down syndrome may be more prone to certain disorders. For this reason, it is vital that health checks are carried out without interruption and on time, and that the right health counseling is received.
As with every child, children with Down syndrome have different intelligence levels, abilities and personalities. The key here is timely intervention and the right support so that the child can use his or her capacity to the maximum. Options such as early education programs and language therapy should be thoroughly evaluated by families and decided by accessing the right resources. Supporting the development of the child from the earliest age with early intervention is the most important issue. In addition to all these, it is vital that individuals with Down Syndrome receive physiotherapy support from childhood.
Individuals with Down Syndrome, who were previously said to be illiterate, can now graduate from high school or even university, learn different languages, work, and lead independent or semi-independent lives. That’s why we shouldn’t put limits on our dreams.
Children with Down Syndrome behaviorally; They are honest, they like to help each other. They are prescriptive and follow the rules. They are cheerful and sympathetic. They don’t like to lie. They love nature and people, they are very emotional. They are very humane. In other words, children with Down Syndrome carry the qualities that a person should have in them.
Being mentally disabled does not mean being emotionally disabled. Babies with Down syndrome are babies first and foremost, and they need everything that other babies need. Children with Down Syndrome are just like other children; needing to be fed, cleaned, loved, crying when hungry, bored, angry, offended, laughing, at night
It is the children who keep you awake. Young people with Down syndrome are also young people with sexual identities, experiencing puberty crisis, falling in love, heartbroken, fighting with their siblings, knocking on the doors, listening to loud music, laughing and dancing. Like us, they experience all emotions.
Individuals with Down Syndrome are just like us, with a +1 difference. Our world is beautiful with differences and our world is special as long as we are sensitive and aware of each other…
Expert Clinical Psychologist Engin Deniz