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Down Syndrome - Term Paper Example

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Down syndrome Date Abstract Down syndrome is a medical problem characterized by different impairment degrees in communication and social interaction skills, as well as stereotyped, repetitive, and restricted behavior patterns…
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Down syndrome Down syndrome is a medical problem characterized by different impairment degrees in communication and social interaction skills, as well as stereotyped, repetitive, and restricted behavior patterns. Most of the children affected by this condition are not able to combine words into meaning by normal age, and in some cases others are able either to repeat same phrases or words over and over or just speak single words only. A number of studies have indicated that Down syndrome can affect considerably the progress of children in their social, academic, and personal development especially within a standard environment where other normal children are growing and developing in. It is against this background that this paper seeks to understand this problem especially in regard to nursing management and available community resources. Introduction Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which results to lifelong pathophysiological problems including developmental delays and mental retardation. It is a condition in which an individual is born with an extra chromosome 21 copy (Dykens, 2007). Individuals suffering from this condition tend to have intellectual disabilities, as well as physical problem. Also, they may have other health problems such as dementia, heart disease, hearing problems, problems with eyes, skeleton, thyroid and intestines among others. It should be noted that the severity of Down syndrome varies and therefore developmental problems usually range from moderate to serious (Selikowitz, 1997). Various studies have shown that increased understanding of this condition, as well as early interventions can make a big difference in the lives of those affected by it. Although this condition cannot be cured, early treatment programs and measures can significantly help in improving the skills of those affected. These programs and measures may include occupational, educational, physical, and/or speech therapy. When those suffering from this condition are provided with treatment and support, they can live productive and happy lives (Underwood, 2004). It is important to understand the main causes of this condition and its symptoms as well. Normally, human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes; one chromosome in each pair is from the father, and the other chromosome is from the mother. When one of three forms of abnormal cell division that involves chromosome 21 occurs, it results to Down syndrome (Dykens, 2007). All the three abnormalities of cell division cause extra genetic material from chromosome 21 that is responsible for the characteristic developmental problems and features of Down syndrome. Generally, the three genetic variations that result to Down syndrome are: Mosaic Down Syndrome, Trisomy 21, and Translocation Down syndrome. It is worth noting that there are no known environmental or behavioral factors that cause Down syndrome. Also, it should be noted that this condition is not inherited and that it is caused by a cell division mistake during the development of the embryo, sperm or egg (Selikowitz, 1997). People affected by Down syndrome have a distinct facial appearance; although not all of them have similar features, there are some of the more common features. Some of the common features of Down syndrome include flattened facial features; protruding tongue; unusually shaped ears; small head; upward slanting eyes; and short neck (Underwood, 2004). Also, people with Down syndrome may have: excessive flexibility; poor muscle tone; relatively short fingers; short, broad hands with a single crease in the palm. While infants with Down syndrome may be of average size, they typically remain shorter and grow slowly compared to other children of the same age. Generally, developmental milestones, such as crawling and sitting, happen at nearly twice the age of normal children (Dykens, 2007). Although this condition cannot be cured, there is a number of nursing management programs that can help those with this condition to live productive and relatively normal lives. Actually, it has been proven that children, who are provided with better management of this condition often graduate from high school, participate in college or university education and can even get paid work (Selikowitz, 1997). Management of this condition include strategies such as screening for common problems, providing a conducive family and learning environment, early childhood intervention, medical treatment when prescribed, as well as occupational, educational, physical, and/or speech therapy. Cognitive development is considered as a good management strategy for persons with Down syndrome. Since most of people with this condition tend to have hearing problem and language learning problems among other linguistic and interaction skills problems, early cognitive development intervention can enhance their communication and interaction skills (Dykens, 2007). This strategy can entail language assessments to help profile weaknesses and strengths; individualized speech therapy in order to enhance speech intelligibility; and application of alternative and augmentative communication methods to aid communication among people with Down syndrome. In addition, plastic surgery can be performed on persons with Down syndrome, with the assumption that it can minimize the facial features relating to this condition and thus reduce social stigma, and in turn leading to a better and improved life quality (Underwood, 2004). Finally, considering that some families and children find it difficult to cope with Down syndrome and some problems associated with it, it is important that community resources should be made available to help them in coping with this condition. There should be adequate and easy access to good health care within a community, including availability of a range of different (Dykens, 2007). Besides, community should have resources that are essential in early intervention programs to provide assistance and support for parents and children. Additionally, there should be support and education groups that are providing help and information for families, friends, and parents who have members with Down syndrome. Availability of such community resources will go a long way in helping those with Down syndrome to develop into fulfilled and healthy individuals who are able to achieve a level of independence (Underwood, 2004). References Dykens EM (2007). "Psychiatric and behavioral disorders in persons with Down syndrome". Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 13 (3): 272–78 Selikowitz, M (1997). Down Syndrome: The Facts (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Underwood, J. (2004). General and Systematic Pathology (4th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. Read More
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