“Children of the sun” or what is Down’s syndrome?
“Why did this happen to me? How did I deserve it?” – are the questions of women who became mothers for babies with down’s syndrome. After all, I look after my health all my life, doing sports, not drinking or smoking, drugs are taboo and my husband is an absolutely healthy person. How could this happen to us?
Shock, tears, and emptiness inside. It is hard to imagine how the families whose kid was born with down syndrome feel. But no matter how hard it is for them we see how these brave and strong women dote on their children, fighting for their place in the sun and their rights in society.
Previously, the staff of maternity hospitals very often suggested that mothers of down syndrome kid to give up the baby and leave them in the orphanage and say their families and relatives that your baby didn’t survive or was stillborn. Such sad statistics reached 30% of all born babies, now this figure has dropped to 5%.
What awaits a baby with characteristics of a down syndrome whose mother left in a maternity hospital – an orphanage and a specialized boarding school where they are kept until death. There is nothing for them: no attention, no love, and even money to satisfy the most primitive needs. Fortunately, more and more mothers refuse to leave their children to the mercy of fate, realizing that these children were born not “what for?” but “to what end”?
Agree, the first thing you feel when you see “sunny children” is the desire not to contact, avoid. After all, we are not used to the fact that a person can look this way, to be different from others. Moreover, we don’t know how to behave with down syndrome kids. The only thing most people feel is sympathy and pity but there are also those who are disgusted and don’t hesitate to speak out loud about it.
What is a down syndrome?
We will immediately emphasize that these are not sick people. This is not a disease or infection that can be infected by others. It is a chromosomal/ genetic anomaly that can appear in every couple that is waiting or planning to have a child, because it is a random chromosomal mutation.
“Sunny children” are also called kids with more than one chromosome couple. Such children with characteristics of the down syndrome have a set of 47 chromosomes instead of 46 in their karyotype. People with down syndrome are different, because an extra chromosome may be present to varying degrees from 10% (the mosaic form of trisomy) and 100% – when an extra chromosome is present in each pair. Depending on the amount of additional chromosome presence, the impact on the body is different. Some children may be stunted and have reduced immunity, while others may not start talking for the rest of their lives.
How do kids get down syndrome?
There is an opinion that well describes how children get an additional chromosome. This genetic mutation is a lottery – no one knows who can give birth to a sunny child and none of us is insured. This can happen in the family of everyone and even the healthiest person.
Is down syndrome hereditary or what are the causes of the chromosomal anomaly?
There are several basic theories of the birth of a “sunny child”:
- The age of the woman. Down syndrome newborn is more likely to be born to women after 42 years of age (1 child per 60 newborns). This is due to the quality and number of healthy eggs that are laid in time for each girl’s intrauterine development.
- Genetic predisposition. This means that if one of the child’s parents had a close relative with Down syndrome, the risk of having a sunny child increases. Also, if there was incest (intimate relationships), it may affect the birth of a child with the characteristics of Down syndrome.
Strange as it may seem, the age of a man can also influence the birth of a healthy child. According to statistics, men over 45 may be among potential fathers of children with Down syndrome.
Signs of down syndrome
External signs of down syndrome in kids
- wide and flat nose, especially the nose bridge
- characteristic eye incision, presence of “epicanthus” – fold near the inner corner of the eye (the syndrome has the second name “Mongolism”), elevated corners of the eyes
- flat face profile
- unnecessary, pronounced skin folds at the back of the neck
- Bushfield stains may be present on the iris (stains are similar to gray or white salt grain)
- small and round ears
- often open mouth at rest
- the tongue of children with Down’s syndrome don’t have a middle furrow that divides it into two parts
- the upper extremities are short and wide, the fingers on the hands are often curved inward; the palm has an expressive transverse line – “monkey fold”, it differs from the lines that we are used to seeing in other people
- the large gap between the first two toes
- deformed chest
- wide and short neck
- very narrow auditory canal and nasal passages
- children with Down’s syndrome are usually not tall.
Other down syndrome baby characteristics that are associated with the presence of an excess chromosome:
- cardiac pathologies (there are defects in the heart walls, usually in the middle of two atria)
- 12-cingulate atresia
- acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, mental retardation
- infertility, especially in men
- frequent infectious diseases
- these people tend to be obese
Some more facts about down syndrome
- 50 – it’s the average IQ of children with Down syndrome
- children with Down syndrome may have problems with small and large motor development, with vestibular apparatus, flat feet, and excessive joint flexibility.
- a child may have a slow reaction, so parents should pay attention to their son/daughter’s physical activity: walking, swimming, attending sports clubs.
- often “sunny children” experience discomfort hanging out with adults and peers. They don’t have a small vocabulary but most often they use simple words to express their thoughts because of problems with the articulation apparatus.
- despite the fact that children with Down syndrome have a mild or severe degree of intellectual disability, they have well-developed visual perception and memory. They quickly memorize information and social behaviors but it is difficult for them to reproduce new experiences in real life.
- down syndrome statistics: If a woman/girl under the age of 20, the chance of having a child with Down syndrome is about 1/1500;
- if the expectant mother is older than 45 years, the probability increases to 1/25.
- down syndrome kid’s health. Yes, these children are much more often ill than others, they have weaker immunity and need to undergo comprehensive examinations more often. Even those children (with Down syndrome) who don’t have any congenital heart defects or other diseases, should be examined by a doctor every six months.
- symptoms of having a down syndrome baby. You can hardly feel that you are developing a fetus with the characteristics of Down syndrome inside. For this, there are certain screening tests that are carried out during pregnancy. And there are markers that will indicate the presence or absence of chromosomal mutation in the fetus.
Usually, they give blood (HCG, Inhibin A – increased compared to a normal pregnancy) or fetal ultrasound. Also, a specialist can detect edema of the collar zone and the size of the nasal bone in time for ultrasound diagnosis. But these methods of diagnosis are not a 100% guarantee of birth of a child with Down’s syndrome, but only indicates the risks of developing fetal pathologies.
Why are kids born with down syndrome?
No one can give an exact answer to this question. There are only a number of reasons and features that can affect the increase in the risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome.
Another question is how to live their lives and their families? But luckily, there is a lot of positive experience and socialization of such children in today’s world and it is joyous!