Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused due to an extra chromosome. Normal genetic structure is based on 46 chromosomes, but in case of a person with Down syndrome, there are 47 chromosomes. This extra chromosome disturbs the whole genetic set up and causes developmental, intellectual, and physical impairment. Their physical features are unusual, making them easily distinguishable from a very young age. The face is usually flat with upwardly slanting eyes, short neck, and small hands and feet. Their muscle tone is also poor and ligaments are loose.
People with Down syndrome have a very challenging life. They are left behind in many spheres of life. From facing social rejection to challenges in managing their personal tasks and daily life routine, they live a life that is limited in many ways.
Children with Down syndrome have weak motor skills. This limits their exploration of the world and manipulation of objects. Due to this limited experience, their cognitive development is also a lot slower as compared to their peers.
They usually have very impulsive behavior. Their judgment skills are also very poor. These two characteristics combined make them very difficult to handle and sooth. They cannot focus on one thing for a long time and, therefore, learn far less than other children of their age.
Their thinking patterns are often very alarming and unhealthy. The thoughts are in the lines of anxiety, rumination, and are very inflexible. Due to this, they often have co-morbid disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of some kind.
Due to a negative thinking pattern and consciousness about their disabilities, they often end up withdrawing from social situations. People with Down syndrome are not much social anyway. As a child with Down syndrome grows old, they become more and more prone to depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and losing interest in activities and self care. Dementia is also very common in their later years of life.
When you keep these difficulties in mind and analyze them, you come to realize that basically their whole life is difficult. At each step they have to adjust according to their capabilities. Some of the major themes of limitations that you find in the life of a person with Down syndrome include:
- They are limited in their physical capacity. A lot of the physical tasks that people can otherwise perform very normally, are difficult, and in many cases impossible, for people with Down syndrome.
- Intellectual underdevelopment is the biggest challenge. Due to this reason, they cannot excel in academics, and therefore, cannot make a career or develop a professional life. A few people with mild Down syndrome symptoms are able to get low tear jobs at restaurants, stores, etc., but that’s just about it.
- Their whole sense of well-being is jeopardized due to the constant psychological turmoil they are in. depression and anxiety being very common, a lot of other psychological disorders develop overtime, and making them live a life in shadows.