Sunday, October 4, 2009

Misconceptions about Down syndrome Day 4

Parenting a child with Down syndrome has it's challenges. Don't let others' beliefs in faulty information add to them for you. Here are some common misconceptions about Down syndrome and the facts you need to set people straight on the realities.

***I am also including my Facts as they apply to our lives!!!!!

MYTH: Down Syndrome is a rare disorder.

FACT: Down syndrome is not rare. About 1 in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome and over 6000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the US each year. Currently, it is estimated that there are over 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the United States.

***MY FACT: And I have two of them.. well one wasn’t born here, but I still have two.. doubly blessed!!!

MYTH: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.

FACT: Over 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35, and the average age of a mother of an infant with Down syndrome is 28 years.

***MY FACT: I was 34 when Josie was born, so I wasn’t OLD, but I wasn’t a young 20 something either. I know LOTS of moms in their early 20’s with special little ones. My theory on this is that it appears that more women over 35 have children with DS because quite frankly there aren’t as many that age having kids as there are of those under 35.

MYTH: Down syndrome is not treatable.

FACT: While there is no cure for Down syndrome, there are many treatments available for the problems associated with Down syndrome.

***MY FACT: I have had people actually ask me if she would grow out of it. I laughed and laughed. Then had to explain to the person… because they weren’t joking, just WHY she wouldn’t grow out of it!

MYTH: People with Down syndrome have severe mental retardation.

FACT: Most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate mental retardation. Individuals with Down syndrome have IQ scores of 30 to 60, but much variation exists. More important than IQ scores is the fact that all individuals with Down syndrome are capable of learning.

***MY FACT: People with DS go on to go to college, get married, own businesses, live on their own. It is amazing what some encouragement and the “Sky’s the limit” attitude can do.

MYTH: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in separate special education programs.

FACT: Most children with Down syndrome in the United States are “mainstreamed” into regular schools. They attend regular classes for some subjects and attend special classes for other subjects. Each school system is required to provide the best learning environment possible for all special needs children.

***MY FACT: Right now Josie does happen to attend a special needs school, however next year she will be in a main stream kindergarten class with kids her own age… “typical” kids. We are looking forward to her “fitting” in with her friends.

MYTH: People with Down Syndrome will live at home forever.

FACT: A large percentage of adults with Down syndrome live semi-independently in assisted living facilities and group homes. Adults with Down syndrome often hold jobs and have romantic relationships.

***MY FACT: Ummmm…NOPE… not going to happen. There are plenty of ways that Josie & Jake can either live on her own or in a group home. There were 4 families that began our support group and we have talked about splitting the cost of a house and having our kids live there together. We’ll see what happens, but Joe and I won’t be around forever and they need to have lives of their own. I am sure they will work and won’t even want mom & dad around 24/7.

MYTH: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

FACT: People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions such as sadness, anger and happiness, just like everyone else.

***MY FACT: Whoever first said this myth obviously hasn’t been at my house between school getting out and dinner time. Josie is usually far from happy. She does have the range of emotions and damn it, she will let you know when she is NOT happy or when she wants to do what she wants to do.

MYTH: Individuals with Down syndrome die young.

FACT: The average life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome is now 50 years of age.

***MY FACT: My best friends uncle died in his 60’s and I know several older adults with Down syndrome. I think this myth was before there were surgeries and treatments that could correct with great success I might add, heart issues that often accompany Down syndrome.

1 comment:

A3 said...

Hi,thanks for the information.My friends daughter have down syndrome,she is 27 years old, i love her with all my heart.She come to visit me often,xxx