October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
What Causes Down Syndrome?
Some babies are born with a condition called Down syndrome. Kids with Down syndrome often have medical problems and trouble learning. But many can go to regular schools, make friends, enjoy life, and get jobs when they're older. Getting special help early when they are just babies and toddlers can often be the key to healthier, happier, more independent lives.
To understand why Down syndrome happens, you need to understand a little about chromosomes. What are chromosomes? They're thread-like structures within each cell and are made up of genes. Genes provide the information that decides our traits, from our hair color to whether we're girls or boys.
Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes; half are from your mom and half are from your dad for a total of 46. However, a baby with Down syndrome has an extra chromosome (47 instead of 46) or one chromosome has an extra part. This extra genetic material causes problems with the way their bodies develop.
You have probably seen people who have Down syndrome. They have certain physical features, such as a flatter face and upward slanting eyes. They are usually smaller than most kids their age. Down syndrome is something a person is born with it. Doctors aren't sure why this chromosome problem happens to some babies. It's nothing the mom or dad did before the child was born; anyone can have a baby with Down syndrome.
Kids with Down syndrome tend to grow and develop more slowly than other children do. They may start walking or talking later than other babies. Special help, such as physical therapy and speech therapy, can give kids a boost with their walking and talking skills.
Many kids with Down syndrome go to regular schools and may attend regular classes. Some need special classes to help them in areas where they have more trouble learning. Their parents work with teachers and others to come up with a plan for the best way to learn. Kids with Down syndrome like their playtime too. They play sports and do activities, such as music lessons or dance classes.
Kids with Down syndrome want to be treated the same way all kids want to be treated; with respect, fairness, and friendship.
For information on what you should know Down syndrome, visit here.
Brought to you by:
- Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder (DS-ASD) | Autism Speaks
- Down Syndrome | Boston Children's Hospital (childrenshospital.org)
- Gross Motor Milestones for Children with Down Syndrome - Propel Physiotherapy
- Down Syndrome Awareness Month: 10 ROCKIN’ People with Down Syndrome - WRTS Houston/Memorial (werockthespectrumhoustonmemorial.com)