My Friend Theresa and Her Life with Down syndrome

My roommate Theresa has Down syndrome and I wanted to learn more about her life. I researched Down Syndrome on the the internet and I interviewed Theresa. 

Here is the interview I hope you enjoy it!

Before I started school presentations Theresa used to do them on Abuse Awareness! How cool is that! We had the same job!

Kelsey: What was your favorite part about your presentations?

Theresa: Talking about my childhood with my parents.

Kelsey: What was your childhood like?

Theresa: I had a big farm with my Mom and Dad, my brother Melvin, and my sister Gloria. We had tons of animals, horses, cows, barn cats, pigs and chickens. We also had a big garden where we grew carrots, potatoes, peas, and squash. My brother and Dad would be out in the field harvesting/working and later around supper, my Mom, sister and I would make supper and bring it out supper to them with a treat.

Kelsey: What was your experience in school with Down syndrome?

Theresa: In school kids would tease me, which made me very sad. I didn’t have any friends except my sister Gloria and my brother Melvin.

Kelsey: What was the hardest thing about Down syndrome when you were young?

Theresa: My mom made my clothes, and my parents drove us to school.

Kelsey: What’s your favorite thing about having Down syndrome?

Theresa: Living with the roommates I have now, I wouldn’t know them if I didn’t have Down syndrome. Also having the bedroom I’ve always wanted.

Kelsey: What’s your favorite memory of your Mom and Dad?

Theresa: With my dad, we would go around to the animals and I would pet the cows, calves, horses/ baby horses. With my Mom we would bake and cook in the kitchen. Gloria and I would sneak treats. We also used to help in the garden, pulling weeds and picking vegetables.

Kelsey: Do you think you have enough support?

Theresa: I do think I have enough support in life, between staff and family.

Kelsey: Who is your favorite movie/music star?

Theresa: Michael Jackson, the best singer, and when he turns into the werewolf that’s the best!

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Here is some information I found on the internet about Down syndrome you should read it and educate yourself!

You have probably seen people who have Down syndrome. They have certain physical features, such as a flatter face and upward slanting eyes. They may have medical problems, too, such as heart defects. Kids with Down syndrome usually have trouble learning and are slower to learn how to talk and take care of themselves. But despite their challenges, kids with Down syndrome can go to regular schools, make friends, enjoy life, and get jobs when they’re older. Getting special help early — often when they are just babies and toddlers — can be the key to healthier, happier, more independent lives.

Chromosomes Are the Cause To understand why Down syndrome happens, you need to understand a little about chromosomes. What are chromosomes? They’re thread-like structures within each cell and are made up of genes. Genes provide the information that determines everything about people, from hair color to whether they are girls or boys. Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. But a baby with Down syndrome has an extra chromosome (47 instead of 46) or one chromosome has an extra part. This extra genetic material causes problems with the way their bodies develop.

Health Problems Are Common About half of babies with Down syndrome are born with heart defects, which means their hearts developed differently and don’t work as they should. Usually, these problems can be corrected by surgery. Some babies may have intestinal problems that also require surgery to fix. Kids with Down syndrome are more likely to get infections that affect their lungs and breathing. When they do get infections, they often last longer. They may have eye or ear problems or digestion problems like constipation. Some may develop leukemia, a type of cancer. Each person with Down syndrome is different and may have one, several, or all of these problems.

Kids with Down syndrome tend to grow and develop more slowly than other children do. They may start walking or talking later than other babies. Special help, such as physical therapy and speech therapy, can give kids a boost with their walking and talking skills.

Do a Lot of People Have Down Syndrome? Down syndrome is something a person is born with it. No one gets Down syndrome later in life. It’s one of the most common genetic birth defects (a birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is still growing inside their mother). Now you know that Down syndrome is caused by a problem with a chromosome. You might already know that we get our chromosomes from our mother and father. Remember the 23 pairs of chromosomes — half are from your mom and half are from your dad. But doctors aren’t sure why this chromosome problem happens to some babies. It’s nothing the mom or dad did before the child was born. Anyone can have a baby with Down syndrome. But the older the mother, the greater the risk. Times Have Changed At one time, most kids with Down syndrome did not live past childhood. Many would often become sick from infections. Others would die from their heart problems or other problems they had at birth.

Today, most of these health problems can be treated and most kids who have it will grow into adulthood. Medicines can help with infections and surgery can correct heart, intestinal, and other problems. If the person gets leukemia, medical treatments can be very successful. Scientists continue to do research in the hope of finding ways to prevent Down syndrome or at least improve the health and lives of people who have it.

What’s Life Like for Kids With Down Syndrome? Many kids with Down syndrome go to regular schools and may attend regular classes. Some need special classes to help them in areas where they have more trouble learning. Their parents work with teachers and others to come up with a plan for the best way for each child to learn. Kids with Down syndrome like their playtime, too. They play sports and participate in activities, such as music lessons or dance classes. Kids with Down syndrome may look different, but they want to be treated the same way all kids want to be treated — with respect, fairness, and friendship. Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

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You should check out World Down Syndrome Day.. it is always March 21st!

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I hope you learned something about Down syndrome… I sure did!

 

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6 thoughts on “My Friend Theresa and Her Life with Down syndrome

  1. Gloria Stone says:

    What a great interview you did with Theresa, Kelsey! Thank you for doing that to help people be more aware of what Down Syndrome is. I hope you have a great day! :0

    Like

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