Raising Your Down Syndrome Child

A number of syndromes and conditions are known to appear in newborn babies, and many of them are in fact genetic and will last a lifetime. The good news is that many of these conditions exist on a spectrum, and many individuals with these syndromes such as Down Syndrome and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been known to enjoy relatively normal and comfortable childhoods and go on to lead productive adult lives. Mental health has come a long way, and while there’s still some ground left to cover, it can be widely agreed that individuals with Down Syndrome or autism may expect a much better standard of living than previous generations who dealt with these conditions. Parents may take heart that celebrating down syndrome is quite possible, and Down Syndrome treatment and Down Syndrome awareness has never been better. Something similar can be said about ASD, too. Celebrating Down Syndrome, or at least being at peace with it, is very much possible.

Celebrating Down Syndrome

What is Down Syndrome? This is a disorder that will last a lifetime, but despite being technically a disability, celebrating Down Syndrome can help parents realize the actual potential of their child. Cases of Down Syndrome vary, as mentioned above, and higher-functioning individuals with this condition have been known to complete their compulsory education (typically with educational aid) and even start careers and live independently. This condition is distinctive for the slowed mental development of the individual, and that person may or may not be capable of speech and understanding spoken or written words. Such individuals also have slowed physical growth, often being shorter than their peers. Physical symptoms also include a wide and flat face and upturned eyes, and small ears.

How often are babies with Down Syndrome born? In the United States today, around one in every 700 babies is born with this condition, and that totals to about 6,000 Down Syndrome newborns per year. As a child with Down Syndrome grows up, he or she may be able to enroll in a public school and get educational aid there, as many schools have a special education program geared for educating students with conditions and disabilities. This doesn’t have to be a cause of shame, though; many parents will be thrilled that most American schools offer specialized educational services so that their special-needs son or daughter doesn’t have to be left out. A higher-functioning person with Down Syndrome may learn to fully speak and write, and graduate high school and even attend college. Down Syndrome individuals have been known to lead relatively normal and fulfilling lives compared to adults without such a condition. This means that investing in a Down Syndrome child is the right thing to do, as with any other child.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Meanwhile, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) with a wide variety of mental symptoms that may vary in intensity. A toddler may be diagnosed with ASD due to repetitive behavior, delays in language development, heightened sensory issues, and a general lack of social inclinations, among other symptoms. Older children and adults can and often are diagnosed with ASD as well, and the number of diagnoses as grown rapidly starting in the 1990s. Here again, even if an ASD child technically has a disability, this doesn’t have to be an obstacle to success. Special education programs can be found across the United States, tailored to the child’s needs. In fact, the higher-functioning ASD population might not even need access to special education programs at all, and may graduate high school and college along with their peers. Every person is different, though, so that child and their parents may know best what route to take.

What might ASD look like? There is no “typical” case of ASD, but general trends in the ASD population include social anxiety and difficulties, challenges with reading the rational and emotional thoughts and intonations of others, physical clumsiness, repetitive habits and interests, sensory issues, and others. ASD individuals may be diagnoses as early as age two, but diagnosing them in their childhood, adolescence, or adulthood is also possible, thanks to a better understanding of what this condition really is, and what it isn’t.

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