Celebrate people with Down Syndrome on March 21
Raising children with Down syndrome can feel daunting, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. One of the joys of raising a child with Down syndrome is the support, encouragement and compassion that is provided by your family, friends and the community of other parents with kids with Down syndrome.
Children with Down syndrome will grow and develop like any other child, but their key milestones like crawling, walking and speaking might take a little longer. You can embrace your child’s accomplishments as they come and share their joy without comparison to other children.
While Down syndrome is a lifelong condition, there are many services available to help people with Down syndrome improve their physical and intellectual abilities and become integrated into society and community organizations.
Founded in 1992, the nationally recognized Advocate Medical Group Adult Down Syndrome Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge was the first and remains the largest clinic for adolescents (12 and older) and adults with Down syndrome. Since its inception, the Center has grown from seeing patients two times per month in shared clinic space to five days a week in a 6,500-square foot facility.
Physicians like ADSC medical director Dr. Brian Chicoine continue to stay at the forefront of medical advances and ongoing research that aim to improve the quality of life of individuals with Down syndrome.
“Since I graduated from medical school, advancements in treatment, research and therapy have significantly improved life expectancy for people with DS from age 25 to 60,” says Dr. Chicoine. “Clinical trials are seeking to prevent Alzheimer’s onset in individuals with Down syndrome as well as address speech challenges, sleep disturbances and more.”
As your child reaches adolescence and adulthood, ADSC provides him or her with medical services, nutritional counseling, access to community services and resources to promote health and well-being. In addition, individuals can participate in Zumba classes, social skills group, a nature club, a music group and other educational events.
“All individuals deserve comprehensive and compassionate health care along with a community that supports them which is what we focus on at the Adult Down Syndrome Center,” Dr. Chicoine says. “Since the Center opened more than 25 years, ADSC has served more than 6,000 individuals with Down syndrome.”
World Down Syndrome Day on March 21 is recognized each year to help raise awareness and advocate for the rights and inclusion of people with Down syndrome through a unified voice.
About the Author
Neda Veselinovic, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She has more than five years of public relations experience and most recently worked with clients in the travel and hospitality industries. She prefers to spend her time with a cup of coffee and a good read and always welcomes book recommendations.