Genetics

child with down syndrome

5 Helpful Tips to Raise a Child With Down Syndrome

When an individual is born with an extra chromosome (over and above the usual 46), they are said to have a developmental disorder called Down syndrome. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that the extra copy is usually chromosome 21.

This phenomenon has a medical term called ‘trisomy.’ Since the extra copy of chromosomes can interfere with a baby’s body and brain development, they have to live with physical and mental challenges. 

Some common physical attributes of someone born with Down syndrome include –

  • A flattened visage, primarily the bridge of the nose
  • Small ears and a short neck
  • A tongue that typically protrudes out of the mouth 
  • Eyes that are almond-shaped and slant a bit upward 
  • Loose joints or poor muscle tone
  • A short height
  • Tiny white spots on the eye’s iris

Every year, around 6,000 babies across the US are born with this condition. When a child is diagnosed with Down syndrome, it is natural for parents to experience feelings of guilt, loss, and a fear of the unknown.

Just know that you’re not alone, and this is not your fault. There are several ways in which you can support your child to help them enjoy a happy and meaningful life. In this article, we will discuss five helpful tips to raise a child with Down syndrome.

Start with Prenatal Preparations

As mentioned previously, Down syndrome is a genetic chromosome 21 disorder. This means it is possible to diagnose this condition even before a baby’s birth. Fetal DNA testing using maternal blood can reveal the likelihood of Down syndrome.

If such a diagnosis is made, consider making some prenatal preparations to help your child. This may involve researching thoroughly about the chromosomal condition, joining a support group, and sharing concerns with trusted loved ones.

You can discuss your fears with your medical provider. They will brief you on the possible interventions your baby may need, especially immediately after birth.

Provide Early Intervention and Ongoing Medical Care

Due to the speech and developmental challenges that children with Down syndrome face, they need regular medical check-ups. Moreover, it can all seem a bit too overwhelming to manage on your own at the beginning.

Seeking medical assistance and support can provide your child with the care they need at every stage of life. As per the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, there is no single standard treatment for this condition.

It is mostly based on individual children’s developmental and intellectual needs. Generally, nurses are assigned to address the situation through early intervention services like speech therapy, physical rehabilitation, etc. Some have even pursued online second-degree ABSN nursing programs to apply their passion for helping children with special needs.

These healthcare professionals will walk the extra mile on your behalf and your child’s. According to Marymount University, the demand for caring and skilled nurses continues to grow. This is especially true of those catering to children’s developmental needs. Nursing interventions will also involve –

  • Providing nutrition counseling based on the child’s ability to swallow and process information
  • Educating parents on ways to take proper care of their child’s unique needs
  • Offering emotional support and motivation whenever required
  • Reporting any changes in the child’s behavior or mood that may call for additional treatments

Create a Fixed Schedule

A definite routine or schedule is important for every individual to function properly. When it comes to children with Down syndrome, this practice can help them live a healthier lifestyle. This, in turn, will increase life expectancy, the average of which ranges between 47 and 50 years.

Consider involving them in the process of fixing a schedule. Ask them about their favorite hobbies and activities, and incorporate at least one of those each day. Waking up and going to bed at fixed hours, eating nutritious meals, and regular exercise will offer them a high quality of life.

Let Them Have Their Autonomy

Children generally need a certain degree of freedom to make their own decisions. Any imposed restrictions will be seen as a means to control and constrain. The same goes for those born with Down syndrome.

These individuals indeed face challenging developmental and speech delays, but that does not mean they must be barred from making simple decisions. If you constantly choose what’s best for them (even in terms of preferences), you could put your child’s mental health at risk.

They may believe that they are incapable of living life by themselves. Allow them the appropriate freedom to choose what to eat, wear, and do with their free time. This will offer them the satisfaction of having control over their lives. Hold their hands and guide them gently when the situation calls for it, but also let them have a certain degree of autonomy.

Connect with Other Parents

Sometimes, you may feel the need to connect with more than just healthcare professionals. This is what makes it so important to have a support group of other parents online and offline.

The sense of community will help you feel that you’re not alone in this struggle. Other parents have walked this path before you, and many continue to do so. They will be happy to help you navigate the challenges as you celebrate your child’s existence and milestones.

Finally, you cannot neglect your personal needs in the process of supporting your beloved child. Being a parent to someone with Down syndrome can be a challenging journey. Things become even more difficult when you’re juggling work, home life, and caring for your baby’s special needs.

Practice self-care and offer yourself much-needed ‘me-time’ whenever possible. Pamper yourself with experiences, things, and people that heal you. If matters get out of hand, seek counseling, but most importantly, remember that you’re not alone.

It’s alright to make mistakes in this journey and learn from them. The key to raising a child with Down syndrome lies in extending kindness to yourself and your baby. 

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Genetic Thrillers: Films That Delve into the Mysteries of DNA

In the world of film, genetic thrillers have found their distinct spot and excite the audience with the force and possibilities of DNA. As we peep into a futuristic world or enquire into the ethical dilemmas of gene fiddling, these pictures do more than just provide us with entertainment, they provoke us to ponder on the consequences of growing human knowledge of our genetic make-up.
The suspense-filled, dramatic, and alluring nature of these genetic experiment movies is that they promise the revelation of something that might indeed be left unspoken. This blog post is for film lovers and intrigued science buffs as it navigates through the four most popular genetic thrillers and reveals the DNA of their storytelling brilliance.

1. Gattaca: A Tell-Tale of Genetic Inequality

The Genetic Code of the Movie

The world was acquainted with “Gattaca” in 1997, a chilling picture of a dystopian future where a person’s life is predetermined at birth by their genetic code. Andrew Niccol’s movie presents a dramatic image of the effects of eugenics but also constructs a too-close-to-close-reality world even in the middle of the fiction.

Vincent, who is played by Ethan Hawke, has a strong longing for an interstellar voyage. Nevertheless, his ambitions are thwarted by the condition that his DNA is “in-valid” which makes him substandard. After a daring action, Vincent undertakes a complex identity switch with a genetically superior person to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut. Caught in this Byzantine labyrinth of deceit, Vincent copes with the difficulties of dodging the genetic screening regulations of the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. The unfolding narrative subtly stitches a tale of caution of a society embroiled in genetic prejudice and division.

2. Jurassic Park: The Cloning Conundrum

Recreating Prehistorical Fantasies

The movie Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park,” is one of the films devoted to DNA mysteries. It is based on a novel by Michael Crichton and is probably the most recognizable genetic thriller. The record-breaking and de-extinction introducing movie is an exciting ride of dino horror, warnings and rampant dinosaur scares. The concept is simple, yet very profound — what if man would be able to clone the extinct species?

In ‘Jurassic Park’, a billionaire philanthropist visionary, John Hammond, doesn’t spare a dime to make the dinosaurs come alive on a secluded island using the DNA remnants extracted from ancient fossils. However, the large-scale initiative becomes a nightmare when the genetically resurrected creatures escape from their enclosure and start to prey on the hapless visitors of the park. The movie is not only full of exciting thrills that keep you at the edge of your seat, but it also digs into the themes of human arrogance and the natural world, in a way a superior thrill movie should function. While chaos reigns on the island, the characters have no other choice but to face their inevitable death and the repercussions of meddling with forces that are too powerful for them.

3. Splice: Toying with Pandora’s Box

A Modern-day Frankenstein Tale

Vincenzo Natali is the director of “Splice” which is a modern creature feature based on the classic horror of “Frankenstein” combined with the fear and potential of genetic engineering threats of today. The movie centers on a reckless and outlaw duo of genetic scientists who splice human DNA with that of different animals to form a new life form, Dren. What begins as a successful biomedical experiment turns into a nightmare when ethical limits are crossed and the scientists’ creation starts to live its own life.

Splice disrupts and disturbs questions about what humans are and the dangers of pushing the genetic envelope too far. The film’s devotion to its characters and the way that Dren’s characters develop captivates and disturbs, until the amazing ending.

4. The Island: The Story of Human Clones

The Price of Perfection

Michael Bay’s The Island takes us to a universe where rich customers can create exact copies of themselves to get organic material only, which they might need for transplants. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson star in this high-octane thriller as Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta, two clones that find out about the shocking truth of their creation while running for their lives from their creators.

The movie is a reflection of the status-based excesses and moral dilemmas associated with human cloning. While in the process Lincoln and Jordan are to fight the very core of their existence and the moral values of the society that used their clones’ labor without any consideration.

What place can I view these movies?

If you want to enjoy the ecstasy of genetic experiments in movies on the giant screen, all these four films are now accessible for live streaming on the world’s favorite platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Fire TV. However, the only disadvantage lies in the fact that in some cases, those services may be blocked by geo-restrictions, nevertheless, it is easy to bypass them with a good VPN service such as VPN for Fire TV or any other. However, do not rely on free solutions. They can damage your device or steal personal data. VeePN, which is cheap and reliable, is a modest sum to pay for undisturbed entry to all of those birthing genetic thrillers. Most of these services offer a free trial so you can have a go before buying a monthly plan. In that respect, if you want to know more about that, please click on the link and take a virtual tour of the future of genetics. And keep in mind, that great power entails great responsibility. Get ready to be enamored by their tantalizing premises, breathtaking action, and hair-raising twists that make them legendary in the genre of genetic thrillers.

Final Thoughts

Genetic thrillers are not just fun. They bother, agitate, and leave an image of what the future technology is—today—with our control. As we move forward in the science of genetics, these films become not only cautionary tales but rather mirrors that make us think about our achievements and the price, which we have to pay for our aspirations. These genetic thrillers, potentializing the knowledge of DNA to change the course of humanity, are cultural documents and thus should not be ignored but watched, discussed and mulled over with as much fervour as any strand of life’s code.

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