Every year in the United States, approximately 6,000 mothers give birth to children carrying an extra copy of the 21 chromosome, resulting in three 21 chromosomes versus the typical two. This surplus of genetic material affects the child’s development and can trigger certain physical traits such as stunted height, eyes with an upwards slant, poor muscle tone and a noticeable crease in the palm.
This scenario describes the most common chromosomal condition, Down syndrome. Though a child with Down syndrome might be born with an average height and weight, as the child ages, the physical differences become more noticeable. Children with Down syndrome are typically smaller and grow slower than an average child.
There are three types of Down syndrome: Trisomy 21, Mosaicism and Translocation. All three types of Down syndrome are genetic, but research has not discovered what in particular causes the extra copy of the 21 chromosome. Trisomy 21, also known as Nondisjunction, is the most common type of Down syndrome found to occur in a person, documented in 95% of cases.
The National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) website lists the aforementioned information, accompanied by an explanation of common symptoms, causes and a clarifying statement that Down syndrome is a condition, not a disease. NDSS is a nonprofit organization which commits itself to advocating for acceptance of those with Down syndrome. NDSS reminds the general community of the contributions of people with Down syndrome through an annual video presentation showcased in Times Square, New York City.
According to the website of NDSS, the organization projects the media compilation onto a large screen and utilizes the submissions of multiple applicants from around the world. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15. The video presentation ushers in the month of October, which happens to be Down Syndrome Awareness month.
Andrew Trygar, a child with Down syndrome living in Downingtown, Pa., has been selected as one of the people to be featured in the NDSS video presentation. Trygar is one of the 500 winners selected out of the 2,400 submissions. According to the Daily Local News, Trygar is seven years old and will be attending West Bradford Elementary School this week. Though all people who have Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, the degree to which the cognitive delays affect the person ranges from mild to moderate. In most cases, a man or woman with the condition of Down syndrome can still maintain meaningful relationships and lead healthy, happy lives.
Domenica Castro is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in Spanish ✉ DC874612@wcupa.edu.