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Down Syndrome Study Finds Families Are Happy

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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.”

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Comments (5 Responses)

  1. hillary says:

    as a parent of a child with down syndrome i can agree with the findings that having a child with down syndrome has certainly kept the family together and happy. we love her so much. wouldn’t change her if i coulcould. she brings smile and laughter to the family every day.

  2. apb94 says:

    I could not agree more, my son has taught myself and others what really matters in life. I can not imagine my world without him.

  3. lauraj62 says:

    I agree with these findings also, We are the parents of a son who has down syndrome. I must say he is probably the glue to our family. He is twenty two years old now and I don’t think there has been a dull moment since he arrived!! He definately keeps us laughing!! We wouldn’t change a thing!

  4. Tri21Mom says:

    Our family has never had a stronger bond than we do now because of my son with Down Syndrome. I think if society would educate themselves on the disorder than they would have a better understanding as to WHY us families that have a DS child are happy.

  5. Maggie Mae says:

    I TOTALLY agree with these findings as well. I have identical twin sons with Down syndrome and they bring joy and laughter to every member of our family every single day. They are our amazing Grace. Not only that but we’ve acquired more true friends as a result of our beautiful boys. In the words of one friend, “you’re doing a good job sharing those boys but you have a lot more work to do in that area of your life… because everyone I know and everyone who meets them wants a piece of the joy that those boys obviously bring you.” The world would absolutely NOT be a better place if there were no people with Down syndrome in it.

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