Down Syndrome is a Genetic Difference
Chairperson of European University of Lefke (EUL) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Education Department of Special Education Prof. Dr. Ayşegül Ataman made some statements on the occasion of “March 21st World Down Syndrome Day” and conveyed detailed information.
Down Syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21 since 1959
Pointing out that Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic problems, Ataman said that “It was first described by Johan Langdon Down in 1866. Down Syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21 since 1959”. Ataman also said that Down syndrome appears once in every thousand live births and added that “The physical appearance of the child with Down’s syndrome may be slightly different from other children, with a number of health problems. But it should not be forgotten that just like some children have blond hair, some have blue eyes, having Down’s syndrome is a genetic difference similar to these.
Children with Down syndrome also have their own personalities, abilities and thoughts.
Ataman pointed out that there are two certain facts about Down Syndrome and pointed out the first of these facts as, the cause of the Down Syndrome is not the mother nor father and nothing experienced during the process of pregnancy causes Down Syndrome. She further stated that “The second fact is children with Down syndrome also have their own personalities, abilities and thoughts” and added that just like other kinds they will grow up as individuals who have different personalities.
The advanced age of the mother is the only statistical data associated with the frequency of the syndrome.
Ataman said that “Regarding the determinants of Down Syndrome, although various theses such as age, radiation, troit antibodies, drug and alcohol use have been proposed, there is no certainty in them” and added that 21st chromosome does not divide and preserves its place in a new cell due to an unknown reason. Pointing out that the advanced age of the mother is the only statistical data associated with the frequency of the syndrome, Ataman said that “Recent studies have shown that chromosome indivisibility can be caused not only by the mother’s egg but also by the sperm of the father”.
The question “What is the risk of observing Down Syndrome in the following births?” was answered as “It depends on the type of chromosome replacement of the child. The risk of recurrence after childbirth is less than 1% in Trisomy 21. It does not depend on the age of the parents” by Ataman. Pointing out that in the mosaic form the risk is not high, Ataman emphasized that there might be exceptions. She further said that translocations may have just occurred in the child, and there is no risk of recurrence and added that “When translocation is genetically transferred by a parent, the risk of recurrence ranges from 8% to 10%”.
It should be avoided to make a definite judgment on what individuals with Down syndrome can achieve.
Giving information about the education options, Ataman said that “Depending on the type and intensity of the Down syndrome, there are those who can go to higher education in the mainstreaming environment. There are children with Down’s syndrome who have earned the right to study at the university”. Pointing out the necessity of designing these programs according to them, Ataman said that “The basic aim is to ensure that children are educated in the least restrictive integrated environment which is the basis of education”. Ataman said that there is a legal infrastructure regarding this subject and added that “Although people with Down syndrome have mental disability, it is avoided to make a definite judgment on what these individuals can achieve, as in normal developmental children”. Ataman also said that difficulties in short-term auditory memory, difficulties in speech and language development, cognitive impairment, perceptual disability, difficulties in generalizing from one condition to another, short attention span, delay in fine and gross motor skills, strong visual awareness and visual learning skills can be observed in these children.