The most common causes of Down syndrome babies being born includes genetic disorders Trisomy 21, Mosaic and Translocation. As a result of these different causes, there are also different types of Down syndrome, but all involve an extra copy of the chromosome 21. However, each has a unique variation of which cells contain the extra copy. This is likely the reason that physical and behavioral characteristics can vary from one child to another. In addition, there tens to be a different combination of medical conditions that result from the disorder.
Despite knowing this information you may still be asking what causes down syndrome with respect to the body creating an extra chromosome 21. Currently, scientific research does not support the theory that environmental factors or the parents' activities before or during pregnancy are causes of a Down syndrome infant, but there is an increased risk with advanced maternal age.
There is also an increased risk when either a mother or father is the carrier of a translocated chromosome, which accounts for about one third of cases. The risk of this occurring is approximately 3% when fathers are the carrier and 10-15% when mothers are the carrier. However, most cases are random occurrences.
Regardless of the causes of Down Syndrome, treatment is generally the same based on whatever symptoms are displayed. It's also possible for there to be a dual diagnosis of autism, which results on many similar treatments including things like speech therapy, occupational therapy and ABA. For children with speech delays, a picture exchange communication system may be used as well as sign language. Parents and professionals may also find the information on my page with positive behavior supports to be helpful if there are behavioral problems.
Recent studies are showing that treatment based on nutritional interventions may prevent or substantially decrease typical associated symptoms. I feel this is just one more indicator that when it comes to working with children that have developmental disorders, nutrition is an extremely important aspect of treatment.
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1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Down Syndrome: Causes. www.mayoclinic.com. 10-11-10.
2. National Down Syndrome Society. What causes down syndrome?. www.ndss.org. 3-21-11.