Down’s syndrome is also known as trisomy 21 due to the presence of part or the entire third copy of the chromosome 21. Named after the British physician John Langdon Down who first described the syndrome in 1866, it can be detected after the baby was born or through prenatal screening. According to some statistics, about 80% of Down’s syndrome cases in US occur in mothers who are under 35 years of age. One person in every 800 individuals has Down’s syndrome.
Having a child with this defect might be very stressful in the eyes of individuals who do not have one in their family. The stressful scenario might be worse than we think considering the difficulties faced by parents who have to raise a child with Down’s syndrome. It is a lifetime commitment of parenthood as they need to look after the child from birth until they reach old age. The lack of intellectual, emotional, and physical capabilities of a Down’s syndrome patient contributes to the hardships faced by parents. Yet, it is very inspiring to see how some parents are capable of coping up well in dealing with raising a child with Down’s syndrome. There are parents who live normal lives and treat their Down’s syndrome child as a normal child as well. They raise the child well and consider him/her as a blessing that will fulfill their lives as parents.
How do parents cope up with problems associated with raising a Down’s syndrome child?
Acceptance is the first step for parents to cope up living with a child with Down’s syndrome. They have to realize that it is what God has given them, treating the child as a reward and not a burden. The parents need to deal with a wide range of emotions such as anger, sadness, disbelief, shock, and depression. The second important thing towards coping up is proper education and knowledge of the disability. Books, online sources, and forums are helpful resources to pick up essential bits of information. Regular consultations with medical professionals would do great leaps towards understanding what your child is going through and how you can respond to his/her needs.
Are there facilities/organizations that help parents raise a child with Down’s syndrome?
The answer is an echoing YES. Medical professionals will be your first sources of expert advices and tips. If you are living in Washington DC, the National Down Syndrome Society located on the 41st Street Northwest will relentlessly extend their helping hands in whatever capacity they can. The Kennedy Krieger Institute has various campuses throughout Maryland including the Montgomery County campus specifically called the Kennedy Krieger School at Academy Way in Rockville. This academic institute for special children can help you give proper education to your Down’s syndrome child to bring out the best potentials mapped in his/her genes despite the disability.
Various hospitals and clinics conduct information dissemination drives on how to raise children with Down’s syndrome and other learning deficiencies. There are special organizations that offer therapies and biofeedback not only for the Down’s syndrome patients but also to the parents as well in order to help them fully understand and accept the situation they are dealing with.
Admiration truly goes to the parents who have chosen to raise their children with Down’s syndrome despite knowing of the difficulties that will storm their lives along the way. Their bravery to give birth to these special children is enough reason to give them honors for great parenting!