Down syndrome - Essay Example

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At the beginning of the 20th century, the field of chromosomal disorders was subject to several diverse influences. First, the work of John Langdon Down, gave language development and academic potential cardinal roles in the classification of the children with such disorders…
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Download file to see previous pages The disorder may be caused by a chromosomal abnormality (as in Down's syndrome), by a single gene (phenylketonuria), by prenatal infection (rubella), or by an endocrine disorder (hypothyroidism). Other cases are associated with a congenital malformation of the central nervous system such as hydrocephaly or with the motor disorder of cerebral palsy. Clearly, Down's syndrome is a heterogeneous classification that can have literally hundreds of causes, mostly rare. Down's syndrome, the most frequent known cause of Down's syndrome, accounts for only about 10% to 15% of the severely retarded (Stray-Gundersen, 2005).

The researchers singles out the main genetic cause of the disease: an extra copy of genetic material on the 21st chromosome. This syndrome affects all nations and races. By the end of the 1950s, two major causes of Down's syndrome were identified. The first was related to abnormalities in fetal or post-natal development caused by genetic or other, often unknown, factors that responsible for only a small proportion of changes, primarily of a severe degree. Implicated as antecedents were the general factors of age and health of the mother; pregnancy complications that included toxemia, diabetes, and maternal infections; trauma and other complications of delivery; prematurity and/or low birthweight of the infant, and asphyxia-anoxia. The second cause seemed to be environmental, related to family living conditions as well as to cultural stimulation from outside the home. Apparently, the largest single environmental determinants were socioeconomic class and ethnic group membership. Environmental causes seemed to account for the largest proportion of children who were subnormal in intelligence, but appeared to be unrelated to the smaller, severely handicapped group. It had become apparent that attempts to account for Down's syndrome on the basis of a single cause were ill-fated. It also had become evident that the retrospective study could not provide reliable data on early risk factors. A large prospective study, beginning in pregnancy, was needed to examine the rarest disorders and provide sufficient variation in socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographic factors (Stray-Gundersen, 2005). The main manifestations of this disease are mental retardation, slow cognitive development and slow thinking processes.
The main problems of misdiagnose are caused by inadequate standards and symptoms applied to children with Down's syndrome at the early stages of development. For instance, in the infancy periods, the velocity of neuromaturational and behavioral change is greater than at any other time. Subsequent development of children exposed to pre-, peri-, and postnatal problems is the result of an interchange among normal developmental processes, recovery of function (either physical or neurodevelopmental), and environmental influences (Ambrosini, 1988). Psychologists who work with neonates and infants are advised to consider several general guidelines. First is the concept of risk. Risk refers to influences that have a potential negative effect on the infant's development. In many cases, when a child shows anxiety or shyness he/she can be treated as ADHD.
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