Disease or Disorder

By Logan O.

Down syndrome has impacted my life directly. My little sister, Madison, is 5 years old and has Down syndrome. My hope was to learn more about my sister and her diagnosis.


  Down syndrome is a genetic disorder in chromosome 21.  Instead of chromosome 21 having 2 copies of the chromosome, it has three copies.  Down syndrome affects pretty much everything from talking to walking.  One of the things Down syndrome affects is fine and gross motor skills.  Down syndrome is one of the most common genetic disorders, occurring at about 1 in every 691 births.  There is only a 1% chance for Down syndrome to be inherited.  And you shouldn't say Down syndrome kid or down’s kid because it’s like saying, “this is my cancer uncle”, and that is not natural thing to say which is why you should say person before a disorder or just not mention it at all.  Because of the extra chromosome people who have Down syndrome can get Alzheimer's, leukemia, seizures, cataracts, breathing problems, and heart conditions easier than people who do not have Down syndrome.



As I mentioned in the beginning, Down syndrome affects both gross and fine motor development.  In children with Down syndrome their motor skills are most of the time delayed in many ways.  First, a person with Down syndrome is slower in timing; this means that they have a slower reaction time, so if someone asked a person who has Down syndrome and a person without Down syndrome to press a button when a light turned on then the person with Down syndrome most likely would be slower to press the button.  Second, it takes longer to use coordinated movements; an example of coordinated movements is throwing a football and running at the same time.


Many children with Down syndrome have smaller mouths and low muscle tone which makes it harder to communicate with words so because of that many learn sign language.  Another reason why a lot of children who have Down syndrome learn sign language is because the connection between their mouth and their brain is usually mixed up like when the child wants to say the T sound they might say the F sound.  Now this one I actually have proof about because my little sister has Down syndrome and when we try to get her to say my name which is Logan she’ll say “caca”.  I know some of you who read this might think that she’s just saying this to be a twerp (because it is the Spanish word for poop) but she’s not, that’s just how the connection between her brain and mouth works right now; her speech will become more clear as her oral muscles get stronger.


Structural differences:

People who have Down syndrome have a smaller brain which makes it harder to remember things and harder to comprehend what’s happening in new situations, which is why some children who have Down syndrome will get scared or uncomfortable in new situations.  Another impact from their smaller brains is that it takes longer for them to grow.  Also another impact from their smaller brains is that their neurons transmit information slower.  Sometimes because of the extra chromosome 1 of the 4 different brain lobes can produce or grow to fast which can then lead to Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s is a disease that makes you lose your memory).


My desire to learn more about Down syndrome was achieved. The most significant thing I learned was that people who have Down syndrome can get Alzheimer and other diseases and certain conditions easier than people without.  And even though there are some negative things that come of Down syndrome there is a lot of good also, like they can lead normal lives and go to school, college, have regular jobs, and get married.  I found that we are more alike than different!!

Works Cited:

Girod, Christina M. Down Syndrome. San Diego: Lucent, 2001. Print.

Gordon, Melanie Ael. Let's Talk About Down Syndrome. New York: TRPG lnc., 1999. Print.

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