The Causes and Physical and Mental Effects of Down Syndrome

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Down Syndrome occurs when an individual’s cells contain a full or partial extra copy of the 21st chromosome, while typically, individuals have 23 evenly paired chromosomes without any extras. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, roughly 400,000 Americans have Down Syndrome and one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down Syndrome. Undiagnosed until the late nineteenth century, John Down accurately described in publication what would soon be named Down Syndrome. John then became known as the “father” of this syndrome. The three types of Down Syndrome are Trisomy 21 or Nondisjunction, translocation, and mosaicism. The many effects on individuals with Down Syndrome can be narrowed down into two categories; Physical and Psychological. The Physical effects of Down Syndrome are fairly obvious and usually draw a lot of attention towards them. However, the psychological effects of this syndrome are not commonly talked about or known amongst people. During the 1920’s the life expectancy of a child with down syndrome was no longer than nine years with a slight increase in the 1940’s. We have made major strides in the care for individuals with down syndrome and now the life expectancy has exceeded thirty years. Individuals who have down syndrome have constantly been ostracized and made to feel of lesser value than the rest of the population.

They suffer from social out casting, mental illnesses, and the regression of skills and the ability to do tasks. General Anxiety starts off at an extraordinary high level from infancy in individuals with down syndrome. As they get older and have more life experiences and are integrated into everyday life, that anxiety only gets worse. This anxiety increases with everyday activities and responsibilities. Many societies treat individuals with down syndrome with disgust and maltreatment. This attitude is shifting but it is still a problem that can’t be forgotten about. When an individual with down syndrome suffers from neglect, their mental and physical needs are not being met, just like any human being.

Going through school as an individual with down syndrome is also very difficult because that is a social ground and is a need for strong communication skills which individuals with down syndrome typically lack. On top of struggling with down syndrome, these individuals are often predisposed to an array of mental illnesses including depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD and ADD, and OCD. Their extremely high levels of anxiety make these conditions worse especially as they get older. The many stresses that come with down syndrome and all of the psychological effects that come with it can have long lasting effects on the individual. They can suffer from a loss of cognitive skills and social skills, as well as dementia and memory loss. Sleep difficulty is extremely common and extreme mood related issues become more apparent. When children with down syndrome grow up in caring, patient, and loving homes, they thrive and grow exponentially. Individuals with down syndrome can lead a perfectly normal life just like everyone else, as long as they are given the proper tools.A lot of families that have raised children with down syndrome have benefited from the experience as well. It has taught them more in some cases than they have taught their child. Within every child, there is always potential to grow and prosper.

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