October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. This is a fact that I am not even sure I knew in October 2016. Here we are, October 2020, and I have learned so much in the last 3 years since the birth of my son, Cedar, that I plan to share a fact a day for the month of October. I wish I had known all of this information when Cedar was born, but since I did not, I will spread awareness so that others can learn what I didn’t know.
My hope is that by spreading awareness about what Down Syndrome is, and some of the facts about it, I will play one small part in eradicating some of the myths that are still out there.
Did you know that there are 3 types of Down Syndrome?
There are 3 types of Down Syndrome:
- Trisomy 21: All copies of the 21st chromosome are in triplicate (95% of cases)
- Mosaic Down Syndrome: Only some of the person’s 21st set of chromosomes are in triplicate and others are completely unaffected These cases have a tendency to exhibit fewer of the physical characteristics of Down Syndrome and often it can be difficult to tell, at first glance, that they have Down Syndrome. (1-2% of cases)
- Translocation: Extra genetic material is attached to the 21st chromosome but it may not be a full and separate chromosomal piece, it is kind of like a small hitchiker. This type can be hereditary but is the only type that is.
This is a picture of my son, Cedar. When we received his diagnosis we learned from a geneticist that he has a 3rd copy of his 21st chromosome. He has standard Trisomy 21 which means that throughout his entire body all of the 21st chromosomes have an extra copy. We lovingly refer to it as his super-power. The type of Trisomy 21 that he has does not mean that any of our other children carry any type of genetic predisposition to have children with Down Syndrome. In fact, other than my current age, if we had chosen to have another child after him there would have been no higher risk that we would have another child with Down Syndrome. Younger mothers who have a child with Down Syndrome that is the classic Trisomy 21 type do not carry any higher risk of having another child with Down Syndrome.