Friday, 22 April 2011

Rare chromosome disorders, learning disability & social class

I got chatting to a very well-heeled lady about having a child in the family with a rare chromosome disorder. She took great pains to impress upon me that no one in her family were carriers & that if the baby was going to be intellectually disabled effects would only be mild because the baby would 'have the best.'

Chrissy's chromosome disorder was de novo (spontaneous) - neither I nor her dad carried the micro-deletion. It was just a one-off, an accident that could have happened to each & every one of us. Does this make us somehow 'better stock' than other families where one parent does carry the micro-deletion? NO! Yet I got the uneasy impression that in this lady's eyes the carrier issue is a big deal for all the wrong reasons. I also wondered how stigmatised & embarrassed the family would feel if the baby were to grow up with significant learning disabilities. As if you can control the severity of intellectual disability by throwing money at the best physios, occupational therapists, psychologists etc.

People need to wake up to the facts: rare chromosome disorders & learning disabilities cut across all social classes.

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