By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, October 7, 2012
One does not need a degree in medicine to identify a person affected by Trisomy 21 or what is labeled in academia as the Down syndrome named after John Langdon Down, a British physician who described the syndrome for the first time in 1866.
Indeed, people with trisomy 21 have often very similar set of facial features characterized by distinctive dysmorphic facial appearance and a flattened facial profile. Many people would use the term “mongolism”, a highly pejorative word, to refer to this genetic disorder.
Trisomy is marked by a mental retardation due to a delay in the development of cognitive abilities and a great difficulty in learning and adapting to social rules.
As trisomic people fail to go through a normal socialization process, their acquaintance with behavior susceptible to engender social disapproval is impaired.
They also display great difficulties in problem solving skills and in performing self care routines, including self medication, eating and personal hygiene.
Trisomy or Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an additional copy of the chromosome 21. In addition to the intellectual disability and the deficiency in adaptive skills, people with trisomy are prone to heart diseases, thyroid disorders, low fertility in addition to impairment in sight and hearing.
The widespread misconceptions about this abnormal condition undermine significantly efforts to integrate people with trisomy in the Moroccan society.
Bouchaib Bouzekrawi, a consultant in the Moroccan Association for Helping and Supporting Trisomic People said in an interview given to the Moroccan daily Le Soir that :” besides their handicap, trisomic people have to endure social stigma. Many think that people with trisomy are crazy. Few believe in their ability to make tangible progress.”
Mr. Bouzekrawi suggests that the ministry of Health conduct more research about the condition of trisomic people in Morocco. He went on to say that “It is necessary that the people with trisomy be offered adequate and affordable medical care. It is also important to sensitize parents with trisomic children about the nature of this abnormal condition.”
The Moroccan Association for Helping and Supporting Trisomic People is in charge of receiving children with trisomy. After a series of tests and interviews, the association customized a blueprint project to meet the child’s special needs.
Mr. Bouzekraoui asserts that “Trisomy 21 is not an illness. It is a condition. People with trisomy often express the same needs as normal people.”
It is hard to change a genetic makeup and recover a normal gene mapping for a disorder like trisomy 21. Nonetheless, people affected by this condition can make noticeable progress. Their cognitive abilities may be delayed by they are by no mean irreversibly impaired.