October observed as Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. During this month we celebrate people with Down Syndrome and educate the community on it.

"It's not about celebrating disabilities, it's about celebrating abilities" (National Down Syndrome Society, 2014).

Down Syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small "packages" of genes in the body. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down Syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21.

A medical term for having an extra copy of a chromosome is trisomy. It is important note that there are three different types of Down Syndrome. One cannot tell which type a person has, without looking at the person's chromosomes.

Types of Down Syndrome:

Trisomy 21: About 95 percent of people with Down Syndrome have Trisomy 21. With this type of Down Syndrome, each cell in the body has three separate copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two copies.

Translocation Down Syndrome: This type accounts for a small percentage of people with Down Syndrome (about three percent). This occurs when an extra part or a whole extra chromosome 21 is present, but it is attached or "trans-located" to a different chromosome rather than being a separate chromosome 21.

Mosaic Down Syndrome: This type affects about two percent of the people with Down Syndrome. Mosaic means mixture or combination. For children with mosaic Down Syndrome, some of their cells have three copies of chromosome 21, but other cells have the typical two copies of chromosome 21.

Children with mosaic Down Syndrome may have the same features as other children with Down Syndrome. However, they may have fewer features of the condition due to the presence of some (or many) cells with a typical number of chromosomes.

Educational information from this article was developed using resource material from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visit the Extension Office homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs.

Upcoming events

Oct. 29 -- Extension annual meeting, fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 1 -- Online 4-H enrollment opens.

Jan. 15 -- Enrollment deadline 2015 County/State Fair 4-H exhibit eligibility.

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