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There is nothing more satisfying than jovial people who are full of life and happiness despite their medical conditions. Jovial mood greeted me when I visited a nuclear family, which has a child aged ten years who suffers from Down’s syndrome. Down’s syndrome is a congenital disorder, which emanates from the inheritance of an extra chromosome from either parent. The disease is caused by chromosomal aberrations during fertilization or after conception. Down’s syndrome is not a fatal malady because most of the people survive into their adulthood. The only demerit, inherent among the people with Down’s syndrome, is that males are at high risk of impotence and females at a high risk of bareness. In this view, this report narrates the story of a ten-year-old child called Martin, who suffers from Down’s syndrome.
Life History of Martin
Martin, the firstborn, is a ten-year-old child, who has been suffering from Down’s syndrome since birth. Her mother says that she had a normal pregnancy when she conceived Martin, and she was not aware of any anomalies, which would affect his son. The mother attended prenatal care clinic regularly for normal check-ups, and there was no evidence that her foetus had any form of defects to warrant advanced medical examination. The parents were so happy and expectant because Martin was their first child. However, when Martin was born, the parents noted some abnormal facial features, which indicated that Martin had apparent physical defects.
To understand the kind of abnormality their child was suffering from, the parents sought medical attention from the nearby hospital where doctors performed numerous diagnoses. Given that Down’s syndrome is a rare disorder, though has a wide global distribution amongst all races, the doctors did not immediately establish the cause of the abnormality. After careful deliberations on the possible causative factor, the doctors suspected Down’s syndrome and decided to perform numerous tests.
The detection technique involved drawing blood from the veins and checking for the number of chromosomes. To their consternation, the test turned out to be positive. Martin’s mother could not withstand the shock and even fainted. When she regained consciousness, the couple decided to inquire from the doctor to answer any questions that lingered in their minds. They wondered if it was their fault in aspects of lifestyle or diet.
As parents were dejected, the doctor tried to answer them appropriately that Down’s syndrome did not occur due to their fault, but it is caused by the uncontrollable genetic phenomenon. The parents felt reprieved for they would never have forgiven themselves if it had occurred due to their folly. The guilt would have haunted them for the rest of their lives. The relief, however, was short-lived for the doctor went ahead and burst their only bubble of hope when he told them the disease was incurable. They both broke down. Nevertheless, the only solace came when they were told that the disorder is manageable.
Managing Down’s syndrome
Martin’s parents attend regular lectures to learn on how to manage Down’s syndrome, and so far, they have excelled in it. Martin lives in a serene environment, full of love and care, as the parents never argue in front of him. A visit to Martin’s room shows how he is happy because his room is full of all kinds of toys and learning materials. Toys and visual materials are good for a child’s mental and physical development since they help nurture a child’s artistic skills and thinking patterns. The toys and visual materials are particularly important bearing in mind that Martin is a slow learner, who is behind his peers in learning.
During our interaction, Martin accompanied us to his room and immediately started to ride his train. He was really having a good time. When I asked about his schooling, I was told he learns at home. His parents have hired a private tutor, who teaches him during weekdays from 8 am to 2 pm because he requires a relatively long time to learn.
Martin requires special intervention to help manage his condition. He has a slightly impaired vision and hearing. He wears spectacles and regularly visits his oculist for eye check-ups. He also wears an assistive device to improve his hearing. After playing for a while, he followed us to the living room, and I was moved to tears when he took my hand into his and asked my name. It was the first time I was encountering his social skills. I told him, and he took his time to respond. He also has a speech impediment for he has a relatively small mouth and a big tongue. His mother told me they take him for speech therapy classes.
A miraculous improvement I noted is that Martin can now talk despite the fact that he had autism when he was young, thanks to speech therapy. His vision is good, proven by his ability to reach out for things, with ease. Martin has a short stature, about that of a five-year-old because he has low levels of growth hormone. I realized the family incurred huge medical expenses in treating Martin’s condition. His parents say the government comes to their aid by catering for some of these expenses. Currently, Martins’ parents are members of a charity organization that helps people with Down’s syndrome.
The parents prepared snacks, and Martin did not waste time to partake his share. He ate normally and even asked for more. Soon the doorbell rang, and to my surprise, Martin left the dining table and ran to the door. It was his friend, Joash, from next door. Joash is Martins’ age mate and has known each other since they were little. Martin shook his hand, and they immediately went to his room and started playing with Joash’ tennis ball. A short while later, they requested to leave the house to go and play in the garden. We followed them outside and watched as the two enjoyed playing time. Soon it was my time to leave. Martin and his parents escorted me to their small gate, and it was all smiles as I left, Martin waved goodbye and requested me to visit them again.
Though the children are suffering from Down’s syndrome, it does not mean they are lesser beings compared to normal children and should not be treated as such. They only suffer from a genetic condition that is neither their parents’ nor their fault, but simply an act of nature and one that cannot be controlled. Although a cure does not exist, the disease is manageable with special care and interventions. The children live normal lives and grow up to become responsible adults throughout their lives. The disease is not restricted to people living in certain regions or a particular race, nevertheless, it is a global scourge. Essentially, people with Down’s syndrome are not abnormal, but they only have an extra chromosome.