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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is officially recognized as Down Syndrome Awareness Month to help spread awareness about the condition and reduce the stigma surrounding it. Down syndrome, also sometimes referred to as Down’s syndrome, is a genetic disorder that results from the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is because of this extra chromosome that Down syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21. The extra chromosome found in people with Down syndrome affects how a baby’s body and brain develop while in the womb. Down syndrome therefore typically manifests both mentally and physically.  Down Syndrome Awareness Month

People with Down syndrome tend to exhibit similar looks and behaviors. Some common physical features of people with Down syndrome include:

  • A flattened appearance of the face
  • A flattened bridge of the nose
  • Shorter than average necks
  • Almond-shaped eyes that may slant upwards
  • Smaller than average ears
  • Tongues that protrude outside the mouth
  • Smaller than average hands and feet
  • Small white spots on the iris of the eye
  • Shorter in height than average 
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Loose joints

Cognitive and mental aspects of Down syndrome may present themselves in the following ways:

  • Speech delays (including articulation and phonology)
  • Delayed vocabulary
  • Difficulty with spoken language 
  • Social development delays
  • Difficulty with grammar comprehension and production
  • Intelligibility problems
  • Memory impairment
  • Conductive hearing loss
  • Difficulty with auditory discrimination 

While the aforementioned signs and symptoms may present challenges for people with Down syndrome, it is imperative that society recognizes that these individuals are more than their chromosomes. Just as any other person, adults and children with Down syndrome have dreams, goals, passions, and interests. They can lead fulfilling lives with meaningful relationships, careers, and experiences. To observe Down syndrome Awareness Month, it is first important to be educated on Down syndrome and how it may impact both individuals who have it as well as their family members. These days there are many different events such as fundraisers that help break down barriers and spread awareness about Down syndrome. There are various ways to help children with down syndrome including speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other developmental therapies. Because people with Down syndrome vary with regards to their abilities, certain people may require wheelchairs or crutches to walk or stand. Others may need hearing aids, glasses, and other tools to help them thrive. Healthcare professionals may find the supplies they need to help diagnose Down syndrome at CWI Medical, including hearing screeners,   eye charts, and other screening measures. If you suspect you’re your child has Down syndrome, CWI Medical recommends working with a doctor for additional support and an official diagnosis. To get more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at CWI Medical today. 


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