In this article I’m going to tell you more about Down Syndrome and what the ‘Rock Your Socks’ movement is all about.
What is Down Syndrome? The Science Bit.
Down Syndrome is not a disease. People with Down Syndrome are not ill and do not “suffer” from the condition.
Instead, it’s genetic. In every cell in the human body, there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
What Are The Causes?
Down Syndrome happens when there is an extra copy of genetic material on all or part of the 21st chromosome. Every cell in the body contains genes that are grouped along chromosomes in the cell’s nucleus. There are normally 46 chromosomes in each cell, 23 inherited from the mother and 23 from the father. When some or all of a person’s cells have an extra full, or partial, copy of chromosome 21, the result is Down Syndrome.
What Are The Characteristics of Down Syndrome?
Although children with Down Syndrome share some common physical characteristics they will look more like their family members than other children who have Down Syndrome. People with Down Syndrome will also have different personalities and abilities. Everyone born with Down Syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but this will be different for each person.
What It’s Like To Be A Mum With A Child With Down Syndrome
Nicky Major kindly took the time to talk about what it’s like being Benjamin’s Mum.
“Being the parent of a Downs child can be incredibly hard. You get used to the staring and people doing the ‘ahh!’ bit.
It is though, immensely rewarding too. Benjamin at nine years old is now beginning to read and write independently and his social skills improve daily. So knowing that he has the skills to move on in life and hopefully eventually work means the world.
He is affectionate, too much sometimes, but even on the grumpiest of days you know he will love you unconditionally and probably never leave you. He makes every day different, making you a better parent, a better communicator and makes you proud to be the provider of a very special individual.”
Some parents have a greater risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Risk factors include;
Advancing maternal age. A woman’s chances of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome increase with age. This is because older eggs have a greater risk of improper chromosome division. A woman’s risk of conceiving a child with Down Syndrome increases after 35 years of age.
However, most children with Down Syndrome are born to women under age 35. That’s because younger women have far more babies. Being carriers of the genetic translocation for Down Syndrome. Both men and women can pass the genetic translocation for Down Syndrome on to their children.
Having had one child with Down Syndrome can increase your chance of having another child with Down Syndrome. This is because parents who have one child with Down Syndrome and parents who have a translocation themselves are at an increased chance of having another child with Down syndrome. A genetic counselor can help parents assess the chance of having a second child with Down syndrome.
World Down Syndrome Day 2019
World Down Syndrome Day (also known as WDSD) is a global awareness initiative that has been backed by the United Nations since 2012.
It has been spearheaded by Down Syndrome International. They have linked up with national charities across the world to develop activities and events to raise awareness. As well as support for those living with Down syndrome. It also highlights the facts of what it’s like to have Down syndrome. How those with Down syndrome have, and continue to play, a vital role in our communities.
The date itself has been selected for very clever reasons. It’s held on the 21st day of the 3rd month, which is to show the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome which leads to Down syndrome
What Can You Do To Help Create Awareness?
Let’s get people talking about World Down Syndrome Day on Thursday 21 March 2019! How? By wearing lots of socks and Rock Those Socks. Wear brightly coloured socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock… even 3 socks for 3 chromosomes. If you do not normally wear socks, then wear them. And why stop at socks? Wear bright and vibrant clothing to go with your socks.
(Thank you SensoBaby for letting us use your photo for our cover and banner.)