There are many myths and misconceptions about people with Down syndrome. On World Down Syndrome Day, NeuronUP would like to take this opportunity to debunk false beliefs and promote social integration of people with this syndrome.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is not a disease. It is a genetic alteration caused by the presence of an extra chromosome or a part of it. People with this syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two, and that is why this syndrome is also called trisomy 21. It is the most common human chromosomal abnormality, but it is not a disease and, therefore, does not require any medical treatment.
Why does it happen?
Approximately one in every 600-700 babies in the world is born with Down syndrome. An estimated 34,000 people with this syndrome live in Spain, putting the worldwide population at six million.
The cause of this genetic abnormality is not known. It happens spontaneously and cannot be prevented.
Maternal age is the only factor that has been shown to increase the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, especially mothers older than 35 years of age.
Are there different degrees?
There are no degrees. Each person with Down syndrome is different and has different characteristics and alterations.
Most common cause of intellectual disability
Down syndrome is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. Between 30% and 40% of people with intellectual disabilities have this syndrome. This genetic alteration causes a slower development so it is imperative that children with this syndrome attend, from birth, stimulation intervention programs known as Early Intervention.
The importance of Early Intervention
Early intervention programs are aimed at children with Down syndrome between the ages of 0 and 6 to try to minimize developmental delays associated with this disability by taking advantage of brain neuroplasticity, that is, the potential of the brain to change and adapt. In short, these programs seek to stimulate psychomotor, cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional development.
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