Raising a Child With Down Syndrome or ASD

A number of mental and physical conditions may be present on a newborn, and remain a feature of that person’s life as they grow older. But such conditions such as Down Syndrome or ASD (autism spectrum disorder) are not necessarily something to dread. Modern Down Syndrome treatment and special education make childhood and education for these individuals more manageable and even highly productive, and any kid with Down Syndrome may have a fruitful adolescence. Babies with Down Syndrome may be diagnosed within their first few years of life, and parents may look for local Down Syndrome treatment and education plans for their child. The good news is that raising a child with Down Syndrome is often little different than raising any other child, and while each person is different, parents may find that raising a Down Syndrome child is much like raising any other. The same may be true of ASD.

Down Syndrome and ASD

There is much better understanding of Down Syndrome and ASD than a century or even a few decades ago, and Down Syndrome treatment and special education has caught up. Today, many schools and classes offer special education for ASD students and provide Down Syndrome treatment, and there are plenty of young Americans who may need it. In the United States today, around one in 700 newborns has Down Syndrome, and this equates to about 6,000 individuals per year. Meanwhile, around one in 60 or 70 babies has ASD, and around 67-75% of those diagnosed with ASD are male. It is not yet clear whether ASD actually presents more often in males, or if girls are under-diagnosed. Both of these conditions are known to exist on a spectrum, ranging from higher-functioning to lower functioning. A child or young adult with higher functioning ASD or Down Syndrome may experience many of the same milestones as non-disabled individuals, such as graduating high school, gaining employment, and starting families. They may have more limited need for accommodations or help with their lives, as opposed to lower-functioning ones. All the same, the parent of any Down Syndrome or ASD child may find them a joy to raise, and today’s advanced Down Syndrome treatment methods and ASD special ed classes make this even easier.

What do these conditions entail? Down Syndrome is the result of duplication of material in the 21st chromosome, and manifests as a number of mental and physical features. Someone with Down Syndrome tends to have a flat face, upward turned eyes, and a shorter stature than their same-age peers. This also manifests as some degree of limited mental growth and capacity, and this is highly variable. Some Down Syndrome individuals need extensive care, but others are fully capable of speech, work, and attending school. High grade Down Syndrome treatment at a public school or specialized schools or therapy can further help someone with this diagnosis find personal, educational, and career success.

ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, is much better understood now than it was even a few days ago. Like Down Syndrome, this results in neurological differences in the individual, but by contrast, it does not present with physical symptoms, and autism’s cause(s) is not entirely known. A lower-functioning ASD individual may have substantial assistance needs, and will certainly be a part of a special education curriculum. By contrast, higher functioning ASD individuals may have more limited need for assistance in their education or everyday life, although they will have some neurological differences that may impact their lives. These can be managed and understood by the ASD individual and their peers, however, to help minimize that impact.

ASD has a wide variety of mental symptoms in an individual, and different ASD individuals may have different combinations of symptoms with varying degrees of severity. Some of the more common attributes include social anxiety or dysfunction due to their fundamentally different mindsets, and they may have trouble with communication issue such as reading tone of voice or body language, or general societal rules of behavior. ASD individuals also have narrow but intense interests and areas of focus, and may use these interests productively to launch a career. Many famed scientists, actors, and others may be ASD, from Einstein to Newton to Mozart and Alan Turing.

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