October…Down Syndrome Awareness Month

As October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month we are taking a look at different people’s thoughts in regards to children with Down Syndrome.  Around the world we see different perspectives on children with special needs.  “Unfortunately, for many people with Down syndrome, the biggest obstacle that they face growing up today is the society in which they live. People with Down syndrome are still routinely underestimated in their abilities and potential, and may be socially isolated because the community still has difficulty seeing past the disability to the person”(Down Syndrome Victoria Network).  However, as awareness grows and people continue to speak out the perspectives in our country continue to change.  So this mom’s perspective and insight into her daughter’s life and strengths really stood out to me.  Kristen, Madisyn’s mom, said “I’d say one of her biggest strengths in how she has the ability to make everyone she knows feels special and loves.  She can make the most introverted person drop their guard to share a moment with her, or even just a quick laugh or smile.  She just wants everyone around her to be happy and strives to make that happen (Real Stories: Celebrating life with Down Syndrome, By Stephanie Sumulong).  Madisyn sounds like an amazing little girl and such a huge part of her family and her community.

We are also looking at “What is Down Syndrome and are there different types?  

Down Syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome; extra copy of chromosome 21.  The CDC states “Down syndrome remains the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. Each year, about 6,000 babies born in the United States have Down syndrome. This means that Down syndrome occurs in about 1 out of every 700 babies.

There are three different types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaicism (according to the CDC):

  • Trisomy 21 About 95% of people with Down Syndrome have Trisomy 21.  With this type of Down syndrome, each cell in the body has 3 separate copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual 2 copies.
  • Translocation About 3-5% of people with Down Syndrome have Translocation.  This occurs when an extra part or a whole extra chromosome 21 is present, but it is attached or “trans-located” to a different chromosome rather than being a separate chromosome 21.
  • Mosaicim About 1-2% of people with Down Syndrome have Mosaicim (aka Mosaic).  Mosaic means mixture or combination. For children with mosaic Down syndrome, some of their cells have 3 copies of chromosome 21, but other cells have the typical two copies of chromosome 21. Children with mosaic Down syndrome may have the same features as other children with Down syndrome. However, they may have fewer features of the condition due to the presence of some (or
    many) cells with a typical number of chromosomes.
  • Profiles of children with Down Syndrome: we normally see profiles with either Trisomy 21 and rarely Masaicim/Mosaic.

And finally we are looking at, and advocating for, children who are waiting to become apart of a family and, like Madisyn, to be able to contribute to their community.   In Eastern Europe there is a large number of children with Down Syndrome waiting to be matched with families while they live in orphanages, group facilities and foster homes.  Lets continue to educate those around us, advocate for those needing a forever family and celebrating life with Down Syndrome.

Klaudia Lesniak 1

Kenzie is still waiting for her forever family!!

Closed Facebook page, come and visit us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CHI.DownSyndromeAdoption/

Please let me know if you have any questions about international adoption or are interested in adoption a child with Down Syndrome; amanda.m@chiadopt.org.

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