When I found out prenatally that my baby would be born with Down syndrome, I cried for two days. I didn’t really know much about Down syndrome, but I imagined that it had to be a bad thing because we tested for it. You usually test prenatally for the bad stuff. I assumed that the extra chromosome that this baby has would bring her all kinds of problems and issues. That’s why so many people were saying, “I’m sorry”, right? Well, I’m learning that this isn’t necessarily a true statement. Here are 5 myths about the problems that Down syndrome can cause.
- Having a child with Down syndrome is hard on the family. Not true! Studies have shown that parents of children with Down syndrome have a lower divorce rate than those with children without disabilities. As for the siblings, studies have shown that the large majority of siblings of individuals with Down syndrome had pride in their brother or sister with Down syndrome.
- Down syndrome causes major medical issues. Yes, having a baby with Down syndrome can mean more medical appointments as well as therapy appointments to help motor skills, and more medical issues commonly involving the heart, vision, hearing and thyroid, but not all children with Down syndrome have major medical issues. Many parents have found that their first year with their child with Down syndrome is uneventful in the medical department and they are just fine with that!
- People with Down syndrome will always be dependent. Not always. Some adults with Down syndrome drive and live on their own. Many have jobs and some marry.
- Down syndrome causes physical defects. There are some chromosomal abnormalities that cause physical defects, but not Down syndrome.
- Individuals with Down syndrome die young. This used to be the case. In fact, as recent as the early 1980’s the life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome was 25. The good news is that now with medical advancements, such as in cardiology, many heart defects are corrected so that children now have a heart that doesn’t affect their life expectancy.
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