Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that results in the impairment of physical and cognitive abilities in an individual. It is caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. It cannot be cured. Down syndrome in a baby can be identified when it is in the womb or at birth. Children with Down syndrome show major or minor differences in their stature and physical attributes. They are at a higher risk of heart diseases and are prone to infections. They show delay in acquiring motor and cognitive skills and may have learning disabilities. Thanks to developments in medical science, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms, thus helping children with Down syndrome lead a normal life.
The methods of treatment for Down syndrome focus on controlling the symptoms of this disorder. Recurrent infections in children with this disorder, can be treated with the use of oral medicines. Medications or surgery (in severe cases) can help treat heart diseases. Intestinal problems that these children are prone to, can be cured with the use of medications. People with Down syndrome can live up to an age of 50 years or more and with the care and support of the family and society, they can lead normal lives.
Children with Down syndrome show certain learning disabilities. The development of cognitive abilities is slower. So, they need additional support during their educative years. They can attend regular schools but require special assistance in education. Speech therapies and behavioral training methods can help them cope with school activities. A better option is to have a team of doctors to help parents take good care of their child.
Early intervention programs are specialized programs which help children with Down syndrome in overcoming their disabilities. In these programs, children are stimulated with suitable physical and mental activities. The programs involve therapists and trainers who aim at building motor skills, language skills, and social abilities in children. Children with Down syndrome take a little longer to develop these skills. But such programs are of great help.
Children with Down syndrome should never be made to feel that they lack something or that they are deficient in any way. They should be treated like normal children. They should never be looked at with pity. They should be given the care and support they need, without letting them feel different. Parental support and a good educational system can help them lead normal lives. They should be encouraged to pursue the fields they like. They should be encouraged to take part in activities that will boost normal physical and psychological health. They need to be supported in their efforts to learn and live like others in the society.
Different organizations are coming forward to train these children in acquiring language skills and motor abilities. These institutions aid the normal development of these kids. The most important thing we need to remember when interacting with or taking care of children with Down syndrome, is to treat them with empathy. It is important to understand how they feel and what difficulties they face in everyday life. Counseling both parents and children is another vital aspect of Down syndrome treatment.
Down syndrome is a disorder one has to live with. There is no possible cure for it. Showing sensitivity towards children with the disorder and giving them an environment conducive to normal living is what we can do. It's our social responsibility. Medical research might work wonders and give us effective ways to treat or even cure Down syndrome in the future.