Welcome to a journey beyond the ordinary – an experiential voyage into understanding, empathy, and celebration. In the tapestry of human diversity, we often encounter stories that redefine our perspectives and touch our hearts. Welcome to the colorful world of children with Down Syndrome!
Today, we delve into this remarkable tale and spotlight a symbol of solidarity– the Down Syndrome Bracelet.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic condition that affects one out of every 700 babies born in the United States.
It is a genetic condition that occurs when an individual has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two, in other words, an extra chromosome. This additional genetic material results in developmental delays and physical characteristics such as almond-shaped eyes, a small head, low muscle tone, and a single crease across the palm. These physical features may vary from person to person and range from mild to severe.
Causes and Risk Factors: a discussion on what causes Down Syndrome and who is at risk
Down Syndrome is a naturally occurring condition that affects people of all races, genders, and economic backgrounds. It is caused by the presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21, and the Down Syndrome diagnosis can occur in three different ways:
- Trisomy 21: The most common form, where an individual has three copies of chromosome 21 in every cell.
- Mosaic Down Syndrome: A rare form where only some cells have an extra copy of chromosome 21.
- Translocation: Another rare form where a part of chromosome 21 breaks off and attaches to another chromosome.
Life Expectancy and Health Concerns
With proper medical care and support, individuals with Down Syndrome can live long and fulfilling lives. The average life expectancy for people with this condition has significantly increased in recent decades, reaching up to 60 years old.
However, like any other individual, they may experience certain health concerns that require monitoring and treatment. It’s essential to work closely with medical specialists to address these concerns and provide the best care for individuals with Down Syndrome.
What other problems does Down Syndrome cause?
In addition to the mental and physical challenges mentioned earlier, individuals with Down Syndrome may also experience other health issues such as:
- Intellectual disabilities: Most individuals with Down Syndrome have mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, which may affect their learning abilities and communication skills.
- Thyroid problems: About 8-49% of individuals living with Down Syndrome have thyroid problems, which can cause issues with growth, development, and overall health.
- Digestive problems: Individuals with Down Syndrome may also experience digestive issues such as constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease/ gastrointestinal disorders (GERD).
- Ear infections and vision problems: Many people with Down Syndrome have hearing and vision impairments, which can impact their communication and daily activities.
- Alzheimer’s disease: It is estimated that 50% of individuals with Down Syndrome may develop Alzheimer’s disease in their 50s or 60s. This highlights the need for regular monitoring and support as they age.
It’s important to note that not every individual with Down Syndrome will experience all of these health problems, and some may have no significant health concerns at all. It is crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals to address any issues and provide the best care for individuals with Down Syndrome.
How is Down Syndrome diagnosed?
Down Syndrome can be determined by health care providers when a woman is pregnant or after the birth of the child.
Two basic types of blood tests help find Down Syndrome during pregnancy:
Prenatal screening tests
A Positive screening test tells you the chances of your baby having Down Syndrome. If a screening test suggests there is a chance of increased risk of your baby having Down Syndrome, you will require additional testing to ascertain the same.
Diagnosis of Down Syndrome may be determined through prenatal diagnostic tests, which look at the chromosomes in the blood test, a sample of cells. Such tests carry a small risk of miscarriage and are thus usually done after prenatal testing reveals an increased chance that the unborn baby has Down Syndrome. Some diagnostic tests are chorionic villus sampling (CVS), amniocentesis, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) or cordocentesis.
Upon the birth of a baby, physical signs might offer the first diagnosis based on biological cues present to determine if Down Syndrome is occurring. The provider can use a karyotype genetic test to confirm the diagnosis. For example, the test can detect if there is a separate chromosome in a blood sample taken from the baby.
Treatment Options for Individuals with Down Syndrome
Treatment of persons with Down Syndrome is possible in various ways. The objectives are to meet the physical, mental, and social needs of people suffering from this condition. Some of the common treatment options include:
Support and therapies are provided to kids with Down Syndrome starting from birth until they reach three years old through early interventions. These programs aim to develop cognitive, language, motor, and social skills through physical, speech, and occupational therapy.
Education and special education services
Inclusive education programs could be good for children with Down Syndrome, as they study together like other average children. These can include IEPs and different special education needs.
Speech and language therapy
Speech and language delay is a common characteristic of most people with Down Syndrome. In addition, speech and language therapy may also enhance comprehension and clarity regarding vocabulary and language articulation.
It also enables people with Down Syndrome to improve motor skills, power, coordination, and balance. In addition, it can deal with physical ailments like low muscle tissue, weak joints, and mobility problems.
Occupational therapy targets developing self-care skills, including fine motor skills necessary in many tasks and sensory integration. It would assist those with Down Syndrome in boosting independence and, overall, enhancing their wellbeing.
A few people with Down Syndrome have shown themselves by expressing aggressive or self-inflicting behaviors. Behavioral therapy could address these behaviors, teaching children adequate coping strategies and social skills.
If Down Syndrome occurs, Medical intervention can be administered to resolve their health issues. Some of these include surgeries for congenital heart conditions, hearing aids or cochlear implants for hearing impairment, and glasses for eyesight problems. Individuals with Down syndrome are also at a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
It should also be noted that treatment plans must be tailored to fit the requirements and capabilities of people with Down Syndrome. Healthcare providers and educators, in collaboration with therapists and family support, often suggest a multi-disciplined approach to offer holistic treatment.
The Symbol of Solidarity: Down Syndrome Bracelet
A simple yet powerful way to show support for individuals with Down Syndrome is by wearing a Down Syndrome Bracelet. These bracelets often have various solids and patterns like yellow, blue, and white – representing resilience, hope, and acceptance. Wearing one raises awareness and serves as a conversation starter to educate others about this condition and promote acceptance.
How wearing a bracelet can spread awareness
Wearing a Down’s Syndrome bracelet can spread awareness in several ways:
At Alert Me Bands, we have a Down Syndrome awareness bracelet that, when put on, could initiate discussions about the condition with other unknown persons. They will be able to help educate other people to ask questions and thus raise awareness over the symptoms of Down Syndrome.
Symbol of support:
The wearing of the bracelet demonstrates that they stand behind these children and their parents. This shows them that you care about other children and their welfare, respect them, and want to see them considered as members of society.
With that said, the bracelet remains a visual statement about having a child with Down Syndrome, even without directly stating it in the conversation. It is appealing and can create interest, making people want to discover more or pose queries about the disease.
Many Down Syndrome bracelets are sold through fundraising activities by organizations that aim to assist disabled people. You’re helping raise money for research, education, and awareness campaigns by putting on the bracelet. The National Down Syndrome Society and the National Association for Down Syndrome are like go-to resources for people seeking more information and support.
The Bottom Line
Down Syndrome bracelets are designed to draw attention and create conversations around the disability. Whether you’re wearing one for fun or to show your support, this type of fashion statement is an excellent way of showing solidarity with people with Down Syndrome.
A bracelet may seem like a small thing, but it can have a significant impact on making the world a more inclusive place. We hope you’ll join us in wearing Down Syndrome bracelets and using our platform to learn more about this disability.
Together, we can make a difference.