Monday, 28 December 2015


Down syndrome
Today I met parents with a young child with Down syndrome
I went on to explain to them as good as I could what it was all about.
An extra piece of genetic material that really disturbed the development
of almost every part of his body.
This includes his brain which will never be able to function like yours and mine.
And yet these children can walk and talk and be very affectionate.
They can give a lot of love and are  generally happy
the more love they receive the better they may be able to function in this world.

I find it always hard to explain Down syndrome to parents who just got a baby diagnosed with it.

In the afternoon I had a session with students and a student presented a case of Down syndrome (another child).  I went on to ask them why it was so common here, in Kelantan.
The answer was because mothers go and deliver here until they are close to and above 40.
And the second part of the answer is that these babies tend not to get diagnosed antenatally and do not get aborted.
The case of antenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and abortion seems another very hard aspect about Down syndrome. It is easy to condemn abortion but the issue is really much more complex than simply be against or for abortion. Surely our children with Down syndrome have a place in our society, they are happy children deserving all of our care. If on the other hand I try to think form a parents' point of view my mind seems to understand, at least a bit, the parents choosing abortion as well. My heart seems to say: "no mind, you have gone nuts", my mind seems to answer: "no heart, you do not think" ...
A huge ethical issue!

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