Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yoga for persons with Downsyndrome

Down syndrome is a congenital disability with an overall incidence of one in every 700 births. The incidence of Down syndrome in children born to 25 year old mothers is approximately 1 in 1200; the risk increases to approximately 1 in 350 for 35 year olds and approximately 1 in 120 for women older than 40 years. The chromosomal abnormality involved in most cases of Down syndrome is trisomy 21. As a result, the affected person has 47 chromosomes in all body cells, instead of the normal 46.
Persons with Down syndrome are shorter than average, with truncated limbs. Some other common characteristics of Down syndrome include an epicanthic fold of skin extending from the eyelid over the inner canthus of the eye, strabismus (crossed eyes) and hypotonia (low muscle tone). Motor development is slow; and instead of walking by 12 to 14 months as most children do, children with Down syndrome usually learn to walk between 15 to 36 months. Language and cognitive development are also significantly delayed. The majority of children with Down syndrome function in the mild to moderate range of mental retardation. In addition to these delays, children with Down syndrome are also susceptible to certain medical problems, including: congenital heart defects; increased susceptibility to infection; respiratory problems; obstructed digestive tracts and childhood leukemia.
Yoga poses (asanas) help to stretch, tone and strengthen the entire body. Asanas also benefit the internal organs and help to balance and revitalize the endocrine glands. For this reason children with Down syndrome who practice Yoga stay slim and flexible, while those who do not practice Yoga tend to put on weight as they age. In conjunction with yogic breathing exercises, which have a beneficial effect on the central nervous system, asanas facilitate the development of body awareness, concentration and memory -- vital skills for any child with a developmental disability.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Down Syndrome Study Finds Families Are Happy

Down Syndrome Study Finds Families Are Happy
By Shaun Heasley


September 22, 2011 Text Size A A



Having a child with Down syndrome may come as a surprise, but it’s a good experience, families are reporting in a trio of new surveys.



Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 family members and people with the chromosomal disorder across the country for what’s believed to be one of the largest looks at life with Down syndrome. The findings, which will be published in three articles in the October issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, offer a rosy picture.



The vast majority of parents said they have a more positive outlook on life because of their child with Down syndrome. And, nearly 90 percent of siblings indicated that they feel like they are better people because of their brother or sister with the developmental disability.



Nearly all of the survey respondents with Down syndrome said they were happy with their lives, themselves and their appearance. Only 4 percent said they felt sad about their life.



“As international discussion is mounting over the new prenatal tests, family members have now had their say about life with Down syndrome,” said Susan Levine from the disability nonprofit Family Resource Associates, who worked on the study alongside researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “And, more importantly, the people with Down syndrome themselves have clearly stated that they consider their lives valuable.”



Researchers did acknowledge that the survey population could be a slightly biased one since all respondents came from families that are members of nonprofit Down syndrome groups. Nonetheless, they say the findings are valuable since they offer the “largest and most comprehensive portrait of life with Down syndrome to date.”

Down Syndrome Film Gets Emmy NominationBy Michelle Diament

Down Syndrome Film Gets Emmy NominationBy Michelle Diament


August 8, 2011 Text Size A A



A documentary about the marriage of two adults with Down syndrome is up for an Emmy award.





The marriage of David and Monica Martinez is the subject of "Monica & David" which is nominated for an Emmy award. (Courtesy: HBO)

The film, “Monica & David,” premiered last fall on HBO. It followed Monica and David Martinez as they prepared for their wedding and subsequently learned to establish an independent life for themselves as newlyweds.



Now the documentary has been nominated in the outstanding informational programming category of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards.



Winners will be announced Sept. 26 at a ceremony in New York City.



This is not the first honor for “Monica & David.” The film was named best documentary feature at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival last year.