Children with Down syndrome
Children with Down syndrome (DS) have one extra chromosome, in pair 21; in total they have 47 chromosomes. This is known as trisomy 21. Contrary to what many people think, people with DS are not condemned to intellectual retardation. The specialists from all over the world are surprised and excited about the development potential that these people show and that nobody had supposed before. At present it can be said that the limits in the development of children with DS will depend on early stimulation from the moment of birth. Although they have characteristic physical features, they are more like their relatives than they are with each other. In their games and behavior they are creative and imaginative; and when they reach the adult stage they can have, with a variable degree of support, an independent life. An adequate affective, educational and social attention, applied from the first moments on these children, will decisively influence the development of their potential, generally underestimated by our social environment.
Until now there has been a mistaken belief about children with DS (they were treated as deficient or retarded). We must become aware in our society of the authentic reality of these children and break a spear in their favor. A child with DS is, above all, a person with a whole life ahead of them. The responsibility of the parents, of the community in which they live, of the governments, is to provide them with a social and educational environment appropriate to their demands. It is essential that they begin their integration in the neighborhood, schools, in their social and family environment. A child with DS is like any other child, with their rights, obligations and expectations. These initial advances in social integration are the first steps for future possibilities of autonomy. The Spanish Pablo Pineda, graduated in Teaching, is the first person with Down syndrome, in all Europe, to go so far. This young man conveys an important message: everything is possible, it is necessary to change the mentality of society.