Why We Need ‘Useless’ People.
Typically, the nucleus of each human cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Each person with the syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition; that is, about 6,000 babies with the syndrome are born each year. The title to this article is provocative, but it relates to an issue that has no simple answers. Amy Becker walks us through her personal story with Penny, her daughter, who is a Down syndrome child.
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