disorder Down's syndrome and the certain ways these individuals are treated in the society. Certain characteristics like their learning ability and their ability to live in the society is emphasized in the paper. Laws and regulations for children with these disorders are also hinted upon. Lastly, the inclusion of these children in the integrated teaching program is discussed.
Down syndrome is a disorder that has been named after John Langdon Down, who was a British physician and he explained this syndrome in the year 1886. Earlier in the 19th century, this condition was clinically described by Jean Etienne Dominique Esquirol in the year 1838 and then by Edouard Seguin in 1844. Dr., Jerome Lejeune identified this syndrome as a chromosome 21 trisomy. This disorder can be diagnosed after as well as before birth through prenatal screening procedures. If such pregnancies are identified, they are often terminated.
According to the CDC estimates, one out of every 691 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome. It has been reported that many of these children with this disease can go to school and then even graduate and get a paid job. Some of them also participate in the post-secondary education. It has been discovered if the children with Down syndrome are educated in a proper way and if they are given proper care then their quality life can be significantly improved.
This condition is a chromosomal condition that is caused by the presence of some or all part of a replication of the chromosome 21. It has been found out that this is the most common abnormality related to chromosomes in human beings. Generally, it is associated with a delay in physical growth and cognitive ability and these children present with some unique facial characteristics. As compared to the children who are normal and have an IQ of 100, the young children with Down's syndrome have an IQ of 50. Mental retardation is defined in children who have an IQ of less than 70. Moreover, most of the individuals who are diagnosed with Down syndrome have a great degree of intellectual disability.
It has been happening since years that the children with Down syndrome have been discriminated and have not been given the same literacy expectations and opportunities (Buckley, 1995). The basis for complete and partial separation of these children from the printed language is served by two premises. The first one is that reading is defined as a circular end-product that requires students to gain expertise of a range of separated sub-skills in an age-related, graphical sequence. The second premise is that the children who are identified as Down syndrome skills of literacy at a pace that is age-related (Cicchetti & Beeghly, 1990).
Even though both of these premises are representative of the educational assumptions that prevail, none of these reflect the reality that is essential. For example, the competing interpretations of education have been a subject of representation in a way that would deemphasize reading in a way that would show the dominance of individual sub-skills and rather these focus on all children as them being "active sense makers" (Crawford, 1995, p. 82), who are constructors of meaning by making use of the symbol systems in particular contexts at particular times. Talking about this matter within the framework, marginalizing children from education is not a by-product of the lack of cognitive ability of the children, but in fact it is more of a moral choice that is made by the judgment of student-constructed meanings that are normally devalued and misunderstood (Smith, 1992).
When we interpret literacy as something that is a social process in which sense of particular context is made by the children, there are educational consequences of this approach. This definition being the foundation, we figure out that children who do not read and write enter literate relationships as people who become the acknowledged creators of a symbolic language that is actually quite complex. This is true for those children who are excluded on the basis of class, race and disability (Koppenhaver, Pierce, & Taylor, 1992). In some of these, an ethnographic approach has been adopted to look into the meaning of literacy for Down syndrome children in almost 10 elementary and preschool classrooms. After the completion of two school years, it became obvious that the meaning of Down syndrome was influenced by the conceptualization of reading and also that the Down syndrome children have the capability of influencing the definition and meaning of literacy in specific classrooms.
Needless to say, the life of children who are mentally or/and physically handicapped just like that of children with Down syndrome is indeed stressful. Their life is not only stressful for them but also for their family because the family has to bear economic, physical and social burden because of these children. Therefore there is a need for such families to understand the problems of these children and then deal with accordingly. Many studies have been conducted pertaining to the psychosocial therapy and support that needs to be given to the mothers whose babies are born with Down syndrome (Nevel, 2010).
A scale has been devised, which is called the Beck hopelessness scale, for having an idea about the degree of hopelessness that is found in different people. The range of this scale is from 0 to 20. If the scala is between 0-4, this means that there is no hopelessness, 4-8 shows mind, 8-14 shows moderate and above 14 indicates severe hopelessness. In one of the studies, the hopelessness scale of the range between 8.29 +/- 2.49 indicated that moderate hopelessness of mothers with children who have Down syndrome need social support (Mystakidou et al., 2008). When the ages of mothers who had children diagnosed with Down syndrome were taken into consideration, it was found out that there was no disparity between the groups. Therefore, age can be considered a parameter that is ineffective when it comes to the level of hopelessness in mothers. However, when the level of education of the mothers was taken into consideration, it was concluded that women who were well educated were found to be less hopeless. In the study conducted by Karadag (2009), it was specified that in the families of children with such disabilities, education has a role to play. People who are a higher level of education are found to be less hopeless. Such findings were true for more than one studies.
Another factor that was taken into consideration was the working status of the mothers. The results of the studies suggested that there was no concrete relationship between hopelessness and the working status of the mothers who had children with Down syndrome. However, there was a difference of a degree in mothers who were working; these mothers being less hopeless than the ones who were not working. On the other hand, when the hopelessness levels were checked for men (who had children with Down syndrome), it was found out that a relationship did exist between unemployment and hopelessness, but not for women (Haataein et al., 2003).
As for families that were unemployed and the families whose financial status was low, moderate or severe hopelessness was usually observed. Moreover, according to another study it was also concluded that as the financial status declined, the level of hopelessness went up. It can also be concluded that financial troubles aggravate the level of hopelessness in mothers who are already desperate and depressed.
Particularly in couples who also have ongoing marital conflicts, it is seen that hopelessness and depression is equal to or more than 20% (Cheung et al., 2006). According to the results of some of the other studies, the level of hopelessness was also proportionate to divorces (Park, 2007). The reports of such studies help us to conclude that the mothers of children with Down syndrome and with social support from their husbands were found to be less hopeless than the mothers who had ongoing marital issues.
The literature of another study also suggested that the level of hopelessness of above 7 is associated with risk of committing suicide. With decreased financial status, marital problems and low educational levels are the factors that are associated with increased level of hopelessness in mothers who give birth to children with Down syndrome and therefore increased risk of suicide.
According to the results of some studies, it can rightly be concluded that the mothers who give birth to children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome almost always psychological issues. Apart from the factors that have been mentioned above, the factors that further aggravate the level of hopelessness include the disappointment because of the birth of a child with Down syndrome, issues in the treatment and uncertainty. It is important that the society should give social support to the mothers of Down syndrome children and their mental as well as moral situation should be monitored closely. Moreover, the psychological consultancy should be approached by these mothers so that they can…