This paper looks at victims of Down’s syndrome, a genetic disease that is heavily prevalent in modern society. It surveys their unique needs and how it affects their lives when cared for by a parent. On the occasion that the parent dies the resulting changes and challenges faced by these persons are also highlighted. Downs syndrome as Affected by Presence and Absence of Parenting The condition named after John Langdown, the physician who identified the syndrome, is the highest cause of retardation.
This is on mild to moderate levels and is linked to medical complications affecting one in every 800 child births. It is a disorder arising from chromosomes where by an error in cell division causes an additional third chromosome, referred to as chromosome 21 or ‘trisomy’ 21. the syndrome is linked to several early childhood medical disorders some of which can be diagnosed on the out set. These include loss of hearing, congenital heart disease and visual impairment (Block, 2009).
Children who are victims of the Down’s syndrome are challenging to bring up in several ways. Their behavioral tendencies as well as their responses to treatment are complicated to an extent that doctors, educators and social work professionals describe case as one of the most complicated to deal with. They may experience some form of autism or a variety of other development abilities. They are also frequently diagnosed and branded as mentally ill among other labels.
However their level of complexity is deeper than of those diagnosis that tend to be generalized about them. These victims may display different symptoms or respond differently to medication and behavior modifications as compared to other children with almost similar disorders. As per intelligence or level of functioning, their ability to perform at certain levels socially, educationally and self care-wise is subject to various variables.
Programs and environmental influences tend to confuse the victim so that they behave in a way that appears to be of low functioning. At some level they get frustrated of trying so that their behavior disguises underlying strengths and intelligence. Parents to children with Down’s syndrome besides being an important source of information and support, parenting such children appear to entail an exception to every norm.
Parents have to understand some differences about their children; reasoning with them is difficult or impossible since he or she may not perceive what appears to be logical; they are easily frustrated , agitated and confused, that brings forth aggression, vandalism and violence; these kinds of outbursts may be extreme; their behavior is unpredictable and hard to manage making them appear spoilt rather than disabled, thus behavior modification and medication seem to fail; behavior may assume a cyclic pattern, once being fluent and the next assume a dumb stance; they are only able to focus on their own needs seeing their caretaker as one whose sole purpose is to cater to them; they resent being integrated into existing programs and often demand that they get a system customized to their needs; usually aloof with actions and thoughts having little semblance to reality; are repetitive and impulsive, for instance may ask the same question over and over or at weird hours; they may experience illogical fetishes about possessions for instance clothing and several other unique characteristics. Some victims with parents may not be so lucky as to have parents who completely understand their plight and know how to manage their condition. Some parents might assume the denial stance and refuse to accept the condition, therefore treating a sick child as a normal one. In such cases they punish the children’s impulsive whims, ignore medication, deny them special behavior modification and other just and timely interventions.
This leads to deterioration of the patient, stress at being miss-understood, that may develop into worse conditions or end fatally (Morgan, 1950). On the other extreme some parents become over-arduous and dote on every of the patients needs. These victims are children with some special needs but the parents take it overboard. They read every book, every manual. They will keep track of any new medication or developments that relate to the condition. This may stifle the patient who in turn withdraws into their cocoons of affliction. This may lead to negative response to attempts at medication, behavior modification and other remedies. The end result is a parent doing too many of the perfectly right things that don’t succeed (NICHHD, 2008).
On the passing on of a parent to a Down’s syndrome patient, he or she is bound to suffer. The reason is that these victims are completely dependent having not only every of their needs catered to but also every whim satisfied. The possible alternatives are: another family member taking over the task. However much in good taste the new minder will not have all the knowledge, patience and resolve that comes with a parent. Thus on top of the grief of bereavement, the patient will be subjected to adjustments that may nullify all the progress achieved by the parent to date; relinquishment to social programs or foster care where the unique and exclusive attention that comes with such a condition is not available.
The condition is highly individual and unpredictable and if generalized medication, behavior and social remedy are administered, the patient is bound to get worse. All of these environmental adjustments on the loss of a parent have adverse effects on the health and socialization of the patient. References Block, M. (2009, December 1). Down Syndrome Births Up (DP). All Things Considered. Morgan, P. L. (1950). Parenting Your Complex Child. New York. Library of Congress. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2008, August 15) Facts About Down Syndrome. Retrieved December 10, 2009, from: ;http//:www. nichd. nih. gov/publications/pubs/downsyndrome. cfm#EarlyIntervention;