Parents of Children With Down Syndrome Happy and Proud

Also, vast majority of siblings express love, pride; individuals with Down syndrome are happy

FRIDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of parents and siblings of individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are happy and proud of their child/sibling; and those with DS are happy with their lives and love their families, according to three studies published in the October issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Brian G. Skotko, M.D., M.P.P., from Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues gathered information from 2,044 surveys sent to parents whose children have DS to share with expectant couples during prenatal counseling. Of the respondents, 99 percent reported that they loved their child, 97 percent were proud of their child, and 79 percent attributed a more positive outlook on life to their child. Only 5 percent felt embarrassed by them, and 4 percent regretted having them.

In a second study, Skoto and colleagues analyzed surveys from 822 brothers and sisters about their feelings toward their sibling with DS. More than 96 percent of the respondents indicated that they felt affection toward their brother/sister with DS, and 94 percent of older siblings expressed pride. Less than 10 percent of respondents felt embarrassed, and less than 5 percent reported wanting to trade their sibling for one without DS. In a third study, Skoto and colleagues analyzed survey responses from 284 individuals with DS. Almost all were happy with their lives, liked who they are and how they look, expressed love for their families, and liked their siblings.

"Overall, the overwhelming majority of people with DS surveyed indicate they live happy and fulfilling lives," the authors write in the third study.

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