Persons with Down syndrome can be gainfully employed –Public health expert

A Professor of Public Health, Dr. Tanimola Akande, has called for the inclusion of persons living with Down syndrome in gainful employment.

He said though those with the condition have limited brain function, they can be employed based on the level of their mental capacity and ability on the job.

Dr. Akande noted that those with Down syndrome require all the support, understanding and empathy from the society to be more productive.

Speaking against the backdrop of the theme for the 2022 World Down Syndrome Day, ‘#Inclusion Means, Dr. Akande said PLDS should be equipped so that they can live a fairly inclusive life in the society.

He said, “This responsibility lies with the family, society and government. PLWDS need special care because of their mental state. They have difficulties with brain function, including problems with learning, memory and speech throughout their lifetime. They therefore will require special care.

“They will need a lot of support to do the little work on their job. They, however, cannot be as productive as people without this challenge.”

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes mild to serious physical and developmental problems.

According to WebMD, people with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are bundles of genes, and the body relies on having just the right number of them.

“With Down syndrome, this extra chromosome leads to a range of issues that affect you both mentally and physically,” the site stated.

The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the chromosomes each person is born with are small packages of genes that determine how a body is formed during pregnancy and after birth.

It noted that typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes, but babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21.

The CDC explained that this extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop and can cause both mental and physical challenges in the baby.

“Even though people with Down syndrome might act and look similar, each person has different abilities. People with Down syndrome usually have an IQ in the mildly-to-moderately low range and are slower to speak than other children.”

According to the United Nation, it is estimated that Down syndrome occurrence is between one in 1,000 to one in 1,100 live births worldwide.

The UN noted that each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder.

According to the CDC, while health experts do not know factors that actually predispose to the condition, it is believed that women older than 35 years have a higher chance of having a baby with Down syndrome.

The health body noted that there is no cure or treatment for Down syndrome, however, there is a wide range of physical and developmental therapies designed to help them reach their full potential.

It stated that some babies born with the condition are at higher risk of certain complications later in life, adding that they are susceptible to complications like hearing loss, obstructive sleep apnea, ear infections, eye diseases and heart defects.


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