Sample Psychology Paper on Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome

Question One

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that results from the extra genes located on chromosome 21 of a baby while still in the uterus. Before the baby’s birth, the couple must know various details regarding Down Syndrome. First, the condition is characterized by various traits, including decreased muscle atrophy and an upward slant of the eyes. The other physical traits include the nose having a flattened bridge and a single deep crease on the palm. There are various causes of down syndrome, which the couple would have to know. Firstly, the older the mother, the higher the baby’s chance of being born with Down syndrome (Mahmoud, 2021). Studies elaborate that after the age of 40 years, the chance of a pregnant woman having a baby with Down Syndrome is 1 in 100. The other cause of Down Syndrome is the presence of an extra trisomy 21. Normal human beings have 23 pairs of chromosomes, having two chromosomes 21, but, in this condition, the baby usually has one extra chromosome 21, which is most of maternal origin.

Another cause of Down Syndrome is translocation, whereby an extra part of chromosome 21 gets stuck onto another chromosome. The other cause of Down Syndrome is that the baby can have an extra chromosome 21 in some of the cells but not all. The testing that can be recommended for the couple during pregnancy to confirm if their baby has Down Syndrome includes Sequential Integrated Screening. The test is a non-invasive test conducted between 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy whereby a blood sample is taken from the mother, and a nuchal translucency ultrasound is performed, which measures the amount of fluid at the back of the baby’s neck. The test is again conducted between 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy (Mahmoud, 2021). The results are combined with those of the first test, detecting if Down Syndrome is present.

Another test that can be recommended is Amniocentesis. It is a test carried out between 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The test involves the insertion of a needle through the abdomen into the uterus and the withdrawal of a small amount of amniotic fluid through the guidance of an ultrasound. The amniotic fluid cells are then cultured and then karyotyped to analyze the chromosomal makeup of the cells. Thus, Down Syndrome can be detected if present. The other test that can be carried out is the Chorionic Villus Sampling (Mahmoud, 2021). The test involves the insertion of a needle through the abdomen into the placenta or inserting a catheter through the cervix to collect a small placenta tissue under the guidance of an ultrasound. The tissue is cultured and then undergoes karyotype analysis to analyze the chromosomal makeup of the cells, and if Down Syndrome is present, it will be identified.

Question Two

After the birth of their child, the couple should be provided with various services to aid in taking care of their child with Down Syndrome. The couple should be offered psychological counseling. Having a child with Down Syndrome may bring a lot of concern to the couple, affecting their mental stability; thus, counseling would be really important. The couple should be given health education on how to feed their child (Antonarakis et al., 2020). Babies with Down Syndrome have feeding problems; hence, the couple should check the baby for positioning and choking while feeding. Development services will also be essential for the child. Babies born with Down Syndrome have slow growth; hence developmental services should be initiated early enough in a child’s life.

Question Three

The couple would need to access various resources to support their child’s development into adulthood. Since the child will have speech, walking, and crawling delays, physiotherapy would be a vital resource for the child. Physiotherapy would enable the child to gain the muscle tone necessary for crawling and walking. Occupation therapy would be another resource the couple would need to help the child with coordination, sensory, and fine motor skills (Mahmoud, 2021). In addition, speech and language therapy would enable the baby to develop muscles for speech, feeding and swallowing, and communication skills. Furthermore, special education and psychology services will enable the child to cope with social and behavioral challenges. Therefore, Down Syndrome is a congenital condition that should be well managed to enable effective coping for the child.






Antonarakis, S. E., Skotko, B. G., Rafii, M. S., Strydom, A., Pape, S. E., Bianchi, D. W., … & Reeves, R. H. (2020). Down syndrome. Nature Reviews Disease Primers6(1), 1-20.

Mahmoud, A. S. (2021). A child with Down Syndrome (Doctoral dissertation, Ain Shams University).