Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

7 Things Everyone Should Know About Down Syndrome

When I began to write this post it started out in a completely different direction then headed in another direction still and finally ended up here. The list below includes some of the things that I did not know before we had Treyton as well as things that, if everyone would know, would help to reduce the stereotypes and discrimination individuals with Down syndrome experience.

If you know me, you probably know why I picked the number 7. Other numbers I favor are 3 and 21. Have you figured out why? I will use the number 21 because it refers to the 21st chromosome. I use the number 3 because there are 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. This leaves the number 7. The number 7 is traditionally thought of as a symbol of luck similar to a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover. That is the lesson I want the entire world to learn. Not necessarily with this one post but this post is a step in that direction. I want you, the reader, to feel like I do about Down syndrome and the individuals that have the extra chromosome. I feel that they are something exciting, something to be treasured – they are living, breathing, four-leaf clovers.

1

Everyone should know what Down syndrome is.

    • Down syndrome is a genetic variation, it is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition.
    • 1 in 700 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome.
    • Down syndrome is the result of the tripling of the 21st chromosome.

2

Everyone should know there are 3 types of Down syndrome.

    • Trisomy 21 – most common, 3 copies of the 21st chromosome in all cells
    • Mosaic Down syndrome – some cells have the extra copy of the 21st chromosome but not all cells.
    • Translocation Down syndrome – uncommon, the typical 2 copies of the 21st chromosome are present as well as additional genetic material that is attached.

3

Everyone should know that Down syndrome cannot be cause or prevented.

    • There are no known environmental or behavioral causes linked to Down syndrome.
    • 80% of babies born with Down syndrome are born to mothers under the age of 35.

4

Everyone should know that a Down syndrome diagnosis is not a determination of a child’s potential.

    • High school graduation is common and some with Down syndrome go on to post-high school education.
    • It can be a struggle for parents to ensure their child gets the opportunities s/he deserves.

5

Everyone should know that babies with Down syndrome are like other babies.

    • They need to be loved and hugged and enjoyed.
    • They are a gift from God.

6

Everyone should know that parents of babies/children with Down syndrome may feel sad at times.

    • Although relatively common, most people do not have babies with Down syndrome.
      • It is not what any parent expects.
      • It is a challenge but not a tragedy.
    • Parents may feel isolated.
      • The child’s “milestone” achievements will likely be at a different pace than other kids of the same age.
      • Other parents often do not know how to act around a baby with Down syndrome.

7

Everyone should know that individuals with Down syndrome are an important part of society.

    • These individuals have unique personalities, gifts, and talents.
    • Given the opportunity, those with Down syndrome will continue to grow and develop just like the rest of us.  Give them the chance!
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Resources

I used the resources listed below for any statistical or factual information; for things other than my own anecdotal experience. There is a lot more that we all could learn about Down syndrome and these resources are a great place to start.

Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan
Mayo Clinic
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Down Syndrome Society

 

Rob Arnold has been married to his high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. Together they have three daughters and one son. He earned his bachelor's degree in General Business from Grand Valley State University as well as an MBA in Strategic Management from Davenport University. He enjoys reading, hunting, scuba diving, and spending time with his family.