Yesterday I saw two Down Syndrome toddlers within one hour, first at Jack in the Box and then at Target. Coincidentally they were both with Mexican parents who do not speak English.
After that happened I searched online and discovered that a doctor who specializes in this published an article about the increasing number of babies with Down Syndrome. His name is Adam Wolfberg and the title is "Why so many babies are still being born with Down Syndrome." To read it click on this link. One factor that is contributing to the increasing number is that Hispanic women are now having more babies than in the past and they don't get abortions when their fetus has Down Syndrome.
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, there are more than 350,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
Many parents of Down's Syndrome children send them to live at state funded group homes (orphanages), even if they're only two years old. Parents who keep them at home are paid by a state agency called In Home Support Services ("IHSS"). In other words, taxpayers pay for 100% of their care even if they live at home with their parents.
Diagnostic tests can identify Down Syndrome before the baby is born. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released guidelines recommending screening for Down Syndrome to all pregnant women during their first trimester. If the screening tests indicate high risk for Down's Syndrome than the doctor will perform the following diagnostic tests:
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): Performed between the 9th and 14th week.
- Amniocentesis: Performed after week 15.
- Percutaneous umbilical blood samples (PUBS): Performed after week 18.
When a woman turns forty years old her chances of giving birth to a baby with Down Syndrome is 1 out of 90. In other words, if ninety women who are all age forty gave birth at the same time than one of the babies would have Down Syndrome.
Many years ago I took care of adults who have Down Syndrome and so I've heard several different rumors in the mainstream about the condition. One such rumor is that they're sweet angels. The truth is that some of them are and some are not. A different rumor is that they're capable of vocational training and can have jobs, and the truth is that some of them can and some can't. For example, I took care of a fifty three year old man who had been working as a bagger at Safeway for several years. I happened to be there when a cashier asked him to put a can of tuna back on the shelf and he couldn't do it. Once I asked him to sweep his front porch and I showed him how to do it several times and when I handed him the broom he just stood there. In my opinion the best thing to do is to put them in the job with a coach for a few days and if they don't catch on than try a different job, but don't leave them there because the company's other employees are expected to work very quickly and they can't if they're forced to rely on a coworker who keeps breaking down.