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Down Syndrome

In each of my entries that I have written, I have in some way related what I discussed to a personal experience of my own, and I wanted to continue that theme here. Over the last couple of years, I have gotten to know my girlfriend’s young cousin, Max, who has Down Syndrome. I have spent a lengthy amount of time with this guy now at a couple of holiday get togethers, a graduation party, a couple of times when we were visiting my girlfriends parents when Max’s family was visiting to, and we also stopped by his recent birthday party to say hi on his big day. I absolutely love spending time with him and his family, and he is a wonderful kid. I was thinking about it though, and I know that he has Down Syndrome, and I can clearly see that it has some effects on him physically and mentally, but really I don’t know anything about Down Syndrome so I thought it would be good to explore this a bit.

After a brief trip to, I learned that Down Syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21, which means that these people are born with an extra 21st chromosome, and actually have 47 instead of the normal 46 that humans generally have. The site says that physical and medical problems very greatly between cases of Down Syndrome, and some lead relatively healthy lives, while others need a lot of attention.

I also went to to look for issues related to Down Syndrome, and actually I was pretty horrified by one of the things that I found. The writer of this blog cited a statistic that 90% of parents that receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis before the child is born choose to have the fetus aborted. Knowing Max and his family, I can’t imagine seeing them any different way. He is such a wonderful child, and his condition has gotten his parents very involved in organizations that help people dealing with Down Syndrome. Also, one of the biggest things that I notice in the effect Max has had on his family is his older brother, Luke. Luke is only a few years older than Max, but acts very maturely and does a great job of looking out for a taking care of his younger brother. Though it is unfortunate that the family does have to deal with difficulties that are related to Down Syndrome, I feel that all of them, especially Luke, are stronger people for having handled it so well. It’s kind of frightening that people would be so quick to abort the pregnancy because of something that really brings out the beauty in this family.

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