Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Burning Question

I keep getting the same question from people, and thought I'd address it b/c I never know quite how to answer it. Plus, I've wondered about it myself. The burning question..."Do you think Levi has a mild form of Down Syndrome?" I think people ask b/c they don't see the physical characteristics a person would expect, but then I wonder how many of us have ever seen a baby with DS. I know I never have. In fact, I haven't seen all that many people of any age with it. I just figure that no matter how mild it is, it is Down Syndrome...there's not much mild about that. I looked online to get insight on the question and found an interesting analogy.

One parent said that it is like being pregnant. You can't be mildly pregnant. You either are or you aren't, and the symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have morning sickness, some don't. Some have a lot of swelling. Others have no problem with that. Since Down Syndrome is the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. There really is no such thing as a mild case. You either have DS or you don't, but the symptoms vary from person to person. I read that there are more than 50 characteristic features of DS. Most have mental retardation in the mild (IQ 50–70) to moderate (IQ 35–50) range (most people range from 70-130). So maybe it would be considered a mild case if his IQ was in that upper range for DS, but then there are speech issues, social problems, etc. I think about Chris Burke, who played Corky on "Life Goes On." Even as highly successful as he became, his speech is a noticeable problem, and the physical characteristics are there. I am not saying that to put limitations on Levi but to be realistic. I know he is not going to be a typically developing kid (or a typical adult for that matter), and I am okay with that. Many kids with DS are now going on to higher education and making contributions to important workforces, and honestly, if I could choose a disorder for my kid to be born with, this would be it. I am okay with it...mild or not.


chatty94 said...

Love the larger pictures! Glad you figured that out.... The lemonade stand was being dismantled when we came home this evening, made me thirsty just thinking about it, so I came inside and made some Country Time! not as good as the real thing.........

michelle said...

Good explanation, April! People wonder if Ava has a "mild" case...but I'm thinking to myself, "what do you mean? there is an extra chromosome in EVERY cell of her body!" But, you are right - mild or moderate or whatever - it doesn't matter. As far as physical characteristics, all I see on Levi is that cute little space between his 1st and 2nd toes. : ) That last picture bundled up in the blue is adorable. What a look of peace and comfort! Love it.