Down syndrome is one of the most common congenital disorders causing intellectual impairment. In fact, about 20% of all intellectually impaired individuals suffer from Down syndrome. The diagnosis of this condition usually takes place once the baby with Down syndrome gets born. Basically, many physical factors can give this condition away.
Intellectual Facts on Down Syndrome
There are many false claims related to Down syndrome and the characteristics related to the people who suffer from this condition. For example, many individuals claim that Down syndrome children are born to older parents. This is a false claim, especially if we take statistical information in consideration. Namely, in about 80% of cases of Down syndrome, the mothers of children are younger than 35. Nevertheless, older women are more prone to giving birth to babies with congenital/genetic problems.
Another false claim related to Down syndrome is that people who are born with this condition are constantly happy. Yet, this again is not true, since these individuals have the same moods and feelings as every other person on this planet. Similarly, some people claim how Down syndrome individuals cannot form healthy relationships with other people. This, of course, is a far cry from the truth. Down syndrome people can form a whole plethora of relationships with many people they encounter during their lives, ranging from affection, friendship and dislike, all the way to love.
Furthermore, people claim that men and women with Down syndrome cannot have children of their own. However, facts tell us different information since women with Down syndrome have managed to give birth to babies and even two men became fathers without any problems. Most of the data which begs to differ is either outdated or unreliable.
Finally, one of the most well-known theories regarding Down syndrome is that all of the affected people develop Alzheimer’s disease at some points of their lives. Yet, although numerous cases of this type have been recorded, this scenario can be avoided through medical and lifestyle intervention. In fact, medical research has concluded that the occurrence of Alzheimer’s in the lives of Down syndrome people is equal to that of all other individuals, with the exception of appearing 20 to 30 years earlier.
About a half of all Down syndrome patients suffer from heart problems, commonly needing heart surgery. Additionally, hearing and vision problems are also frequently seen in people with Down syndrome, along with thyroid disorders, compromised immune system, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal complications.
Fortunately, through timely treatment and medical intervention, most of these health issues are either preventable or treatable, allowing the individual with Down syndrome to live a normal, productive life. On the other hand, plenty of Down syndrome people never experience any health problems from above.
All in all, Down syndrome people have a great intellectual potential which can allow them to flourish in educational environments equal to those where all other children belong. Through proper education and support, people with Down syndrome can manage to learn how to read, write, calculate and perform all other skills necessary for getting employed one day and living a productive and creative life.
Nevertheless, social stigmas still follow these people, disallowing them to reach their full potential. Thus, in an attempt to change the future for people with Down syndrome, we need to start from ourselves and the world we all live in.
Education for Down Syndrome
All people who suffer from Down syndrome experience certain levels of intellectual impairment too. Of course, walking, talking and using the bathroom are all things that a child with Down syndrome will learn. However, he/she will manage to reach these milestones much later than his/her healthy peers.
However, timely diagnosis and treatment can improve the situation significantly. Programs directed both towards the children with Down syndrome and their families, including speech therapies, physical therapies and some other teaching programs, all can help a child with this genetic health problem to develop intellectually as much as possible.
Taking into consideration that these children were completely removed from any educational programs until 1971, being labeled as “ineducable”, they have managed to achieve quite a lot during the last 30 years of public awareness of their true potential.
The goals of education for children with Down syndrome are exactly the same as for all other children. They need to obtain the necessary knowledge and skills in order to live independent lives in the community they belong to. In order for this to be possible, numerous educational programs have been developed, supporting the inclusion of children with Down syndrome into regular schools, providing the teachers the necessary guidelines. Some of these programs are the Prep Program in Calgary and the Down Syndrome Society in South Australia Program.
Through such programs, the teachers get support from expert teams, making the inclusion process optimal. According to a research study carried out during the 1970s in Seattle and Minnesota in the US and Sydney in Australia, many Down syndrome children achieved more than expected on the intellectual basis, once they got the proper educational support.
Yet, there is still room for improvement and advances. We need to understand children with Down syndrome better in order to provide them with the education they deserve, allowing them to express their full potentials.