Why are children with Down syndrome so happy?
Down syndrome: “Your child can be happy. Like me"
Trisomy 21. The possibility of this diagnosis frightens every pregnant woman. One of them was a woman who turned to the Italian self-help organization “Coordown”. “I am expecting a baby. I found out that it has Down syndrome. I'm afraid. What kind of life will my child have? ”She wrote an email in February.
The organization took the woman's fears seriously and put a video online under the hashtag #dearFuturMom that has already been clicked more than two million times - and probably just as often brought to tears. In English, French, Italian, Croatian and Spanish, children and adolescents with Down syndrome talked about the future of the woman's baby:
“Dear future mom, you don't have to be afraid. Your child will be able to do a lot of things. It will be able to hug and love you, it will be able to walk, even run and speak. Like any other child, they will be able to go to school, learn to write, and write you a letter.
At some point it will be gone - because it will be able to travel. He can help his father repair his bike, work and make his own money. And with the money he will be able to take himself out to dinner. Or he rents an apartment and lives alone. Sometimes it gets difficult, very difficult, even almost impossible, but isn't that the case for every mother?
Dear future mom, your child can be happy. Like me. And you will be happy too. "
The organization often receives such emails from concerned parents who have to deal with the fault in their child's genome. Chromosome 21 is present three instead of twice.
People with Down syndrome are known from ancient times. The genetic peculiarity was named after the English neurologist John Langdon-Down (1828-1896), who first described the defect medically in 1866. In 1959, a scientist found the special chromosome configuration to be the cause.
The consequences can be both physical and mental, typically a change in physiognomy, for example the narrow eyes and the round face. Heart defects and decreased intelligence are also common. According to the Down Syndrome Network, there is one for every 700 babies born with trisomy 21 - worldwide. About 50,000 people live in Germany. However, the risk increases in late-giving women aged 35 and over.
A normal life is possible
In today's prenatal diagnostics, Down's syndrome is usually detected during pregnancy by measuring the neck folds using ultrasound, but there are also blood and amniotic fluid tests. Then an abortion is allowed, but some critics consider this to be discrimination against the disabled.
The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome used to be rather short, but thanks to better medical care and, above all, good integration, they now have a life expectancy that is three times longer. It is now known that it depends on the children's support whether they can lead a normal life later on.
March 21, World Down Syndrome Day, is the godfather for people with trisomy 21 because of its combination of numbers and promotes tolerance for the special needs of those affected.
Indeed, today there are many numerous encouraging examples of people who, as in the Coordown video, have become happy and lead an independent life. For example, Tim Harris, who opened a restaurant in the USA, or the Spaniard Pablo Pineda, the world's first academic with Down's syndrome. In Germany there is also a magazine that is designed by people with Down syndrome: “Ohrenkuss”.
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