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Parents of Down children have no regrets

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Children with Down syndrome not only are valuable to God as human beings made in His image, but their family members report they are great blessings.

About 96 percent of parents said they have no regrets about having a child with Down syndrome, according to a new survey. The survey results come at a time when an estimated 90 percent of unborn children in the United States diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

The findings, reported Sept. 30 by HealthDay News, also showed almost 80 percent of parents said their child with Down syndrome has improved their lives. In addition, 94 percent of siblings said they felt "pride" in their brother or sister and 88 percent said their sibling had made them a "better person."

Virtually all of those with Down syndrome said they were happy and liked who they are, HealthDay News reported.

"The voices we heard were very satisfied and very positive about their lives despite the fact that they have real challenges," said Brian Skotko, who conducted the surveys, which appear in the October issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics, according to HealthDay.

"People with Down syndrome should be able to describe for Americans what it means to have the condition," Skotko said.

A prenatal blood test announced in August will make it possible for many more parents to learn if their children test positive for Down syndrome or other conditions. In performing the surveys, Skotko wanted to make sure parents who receive such a diagnosis have good information.


Louise Borke's life with a 22-year-old son with Down syndrome has been rewarding, according to HealthDay. "It's been fun," she said. "It's had its challenges -- I won't deny that -- but it's been fun. It's been rewarding and I have no regrets."

Her son, Louis Sciuto, works at a Target store and is socially active, playing sports and going on double dates with friends.

HealthDay asked her what she would tell parents who have learned their child may have Down syndrome. "I would tell them don't be afraid," she said. "It's different but it's not worse. Louis has had friends whose parents have told me that they believe their children are better people for having known Louis."

Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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