Dr Lawal Oluwatomisin of the Department of Paediatrics, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), says Down Syndrome is not a spiritual attack but a medical disorder.
He made this known at a news conference in Ilorin on Wednesday.
He explained that “Down Syndrome is a genetic chromosome 21 disorder, causing developmental and intellectual delays; it has
nothing to do with spiritual attack, race, social status or nationality.”
He defined Down Syndrome as a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21.
He said “this extra genetic material causes the developmental changes and physical features of Down Syndrome.
“Consequently, it causes distinct facial appearance, intellectual disability and developmental delays, and may be associated with thyroid or heart disease.”
The peadiatrician noted that “Down Syndrome is purely a medical condition; the only downfall is that science has not gotten cure for it.
“That is disturbing about Down Syndrome in children is because of where we find ourselves, our religious beliefs and our cultural exposure. When we see something unusual, we want to ascribe it to spiritual attack.
Oluwatomisin, who noted that there was no known cure for the medical condition, explained that scientists were trying hard to study the genetic code to find cure for the ailment.
He further explained that children with Down Syndrome tend to have certain physical features which include eyes that slant up at the outer corner, small ears, flat noses.
He said that protruding tongue, short neck, small hands and feet, among others.
Oluwatomisin said that mental abilities vary in people but mental issues with Down Syndrome have mild to moderate issues with thinking, reasoning, and understanding.
“However, they can excel well though it varies from child to child, as no prediction can be given to work for a particular child. It is left to the parent or the care givers to look and see what the child knows how to do best,” he said.
He appealed to parents of children with Down Syndrome to see them as children that required special care and take it easy on them as they try to blend to life activities and have faith that everything would be fine eventually.
He said it was frustrating and tiring to care for Down Syndrome person due to its peculiarity but advised parents and care givers to ensure they did not get depressed, rather, show of love.
He advised parents of affected persons to seek for knowledge of the causes and reasons behind it so as to accept and manage the condition holistically.
He warned against stigmatising children with Down Syndrome as such act would depress the people the more and kill the joy of life in them.