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Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century, provides a broad assessment of the educational, clinical, psychological, developmental, and transitional issues significant to people suffering from Down syndrome. The structuring of the book is such that it meets the needs of a mixed audience. It is divided into 10 chapters. The initial four parts cover issues such as self-advocacy, self-determination, advocacy, as well as the role of the family. Health and clinical care make up the biggest part of the book, and it addresses topics such as behavioral concerns, life issues for adults and adolescents, and progress in pediatric health, plus healthcare instructions, for Down syndrome among others. The book also covers the research focusing on a thorough description of the chromosome 21 sequencing, the etiology and origin of trisomy 21, the nonconventional treatments for Down syndrome, as well as the inherent origins of the heart disease. The concluding parts of the book, i.e. Chapters 7, 8 and 9, address psychosocial issues, communication, education/inclusion, and language and math skills. Chapter 10 of the book deals with the visions of persons suffering from Down syndrome, in addition to the explanation of how those visions can be tuned into a reality.

This masterpiece has been neatly written, providing balanced significant and technical information for parents and the newest updates for the experts in clinical, health and research fields studying the issues of Down syndrome. The book focuses on postsecondary education and behavioral issues, as well as provides updates on the continuing dialogue on education and speech/language of people with Down syndrome. It also provides an exceptional analysis of the nonconventional therapy options for Down syndrome. Down syndrome research is exceedingly valuable for a variety of persons such as healthcare professionals, educators, family members and parents of people with Down syndrome, researchers, physicians, pregnant parents of children having Down syndrome and interested public. It does an excellent job specifically in updating the readers with the most recent knowledge on key topics related to people with Down syndrome. This paper focuses on the fundamental concern of this book, the problem the authors are set to investigate, how the authors locate their project within a larger structure of the book, how the authors move from the general level of their introduction to the particular case that they examine, and how the authors conclude the book, among others.

The Fundamental Concern of This Book

Down Syndrome: Visions for the 21st Century emanated from The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) conference held in Washington, DC in July, 2000. The fundamental concern of the book is similar to the mission of the NDSS, which is to make sure that all people with Down syndrome are given an opportunity to attain their full potential in community life. To attain this, the book is divided into ten independent sections addressing various issues related to people with Down syndrome, for instance, how families of persons with the disease can contribute towards their achievement of optimal life and inclusion of children with Down syndrome into the regular classrooms etc. By examining the fundamental changes that have taken place for persons with this disease, the book helps readers to obtain a better understanding of people with Down syndrome currently, and learn what the future holds for them.

Some of the visions for people with the disease as expressed by the attendees of the NDSS conference include the following: providing support for single parents, having limitless expectations for children with Down syndrome within the classroom, not tying financial aid to support services to parental income, living independently, and having great jobs (Cohen et al. 445). The current status of people with the disease have improved significantly, with numerous opportunities, resources and services, for instance, “There are more students with Down syndrome fully included in the regular classroom settings; however they are not necessarily supported in the classroom and do not necessarily have teachers who understand or are willing to make the necessary accommodations” (Cohen et al. 444). This clearly reveals that a lot still needs to be done to enable persons with Down syndrome attain their visions. According to the book, positive changes need to be made across all disciplines from schools, housing, healthcare, employment, to family support, and this necessitates every one of us to work together.

The Problem Set by the Authors to Investigate

The authors of Down Syndrome are set to investigate the unequal treatment of persons with Down syndrome (Cohen et al. 442). As much as such individuals are living relatively better lives than before, the reality is that there exists a broad gap between persons with the disease and those without it. For instance, about two thirds of people with Down syndrome are unemployed, and those with employment earn smaller salaries than their normal counterparts (Cohen et al. 441). This shows the discrimination that such people go through in their everyday lives. According to this book, the society has not accepted the people with Down syndrome for who they are, and, consequently, they are forced to work extremely hard to prove themselves within the few chances that they are given (Cohen et al. 442).

How the Authors Locate Their Project within a Larger Structure of the Book

The authors place their project within the larger structure of the book by providing detailed accounts of their various specialization areas, to enable the reader clearly understand Down syndrome, and its various ramifications. The authors have divided the book into different, independent sections, to enable the reader focus on key interest areas.

How the Authors Move From the More General Level of Their Introduction to the More Particular Case That They Examine

The authors make clear from the beginning of the book that their aim is, to ensure that persons with Down syndrome are given the opportunity, to maximize their potentials in the community life. To help the reader comprehend the disease better, to enable them help such people in attaining their visions, the authors offer the reader information on various aspects of the disease such as health, family, education, advocacy etc, explanation of which is clearly divided in different, independent sections, with the purpose to enable the reader to focus on key interest areas. Towards the end of the book, it becomes clear that persons with Down syndrome are treated unequally, and that is why the authors are challenging us to create positive change across all societal disciplines to provide equal opportunities for them to realize their full potentials.

How the Authors Conclude the Book

The authors conclude the book by telling the reader that even though some visions may seem unachievable; attaining them is possible if we have a vision, and the willingness to try. They give an example of inclusion of children with Down syndrome into regular classrooms, which despite of being undreamt of 25 years ago, is now taking place. They inform the reader of the constant changes and improvements that have occurred in the world of persons with Down syndrome, and that it is up to us to make the visions of such people become realities, irrespective of our numbers (Cohen et al. 446).

Whether They Have Proven Their Hypothesis or Reached a More Sophisticated Understanding of Their Central Problem.

In my opinion, the authors of the book have successfully managed to prove their hypothesis. This is evident in how they introduce the notion of Down syndrome to the reader, stating their main concern of trying to make certain that equal opportunities are given to people suffering from the disease in order to utilize their potentials to the maximum. In addition, they discuss various aspects of the disease in details, in the subsequent chapters, to provide readers with a better comprehension of the topic, to enable them to understand and acknowledge people with Down syndrome for who they are, as well as to make the necessary alterations within the society to make sure that such persons get the equal treatment they deserve.

The Broader Connections the Authors Make

Though the topics presented in the book are quite different, they are all relevant to Down syndrome. The authors have managed to arrange various sections in such a manner that the reader can relate the topics to the main issue, thus, making it easier to understand the book.

How the Conclusion Addresses the Concern Raised in the Introduction

From the introduction of the book, the concern of the authors is made exceedingly clear to the reader; that is to make sure that all people with Down syndrome are given an opportunity to attain their full potential in the community life. In the concluding remarks, the book challenges people to help persons with Down syndrome to turn their visions into reality, stating that all it takes is the willingness to try, as well as a vision. As discussed in the book, there is still a wide gap between persons with Down syndrome and normal people, with the former being treated unequally by the society (Cohen et al. 441-442). To end this unequal treatment so that such people can access equal opportunities to maximize their potentials, there is a need for positive changes across every discipline in the society, and that is why the editors are asking us to willingly make the changes in order to help persons with Down syndrome realize their full potentials.

Whether There Are Any Issues That Do not Appear to Be Addressed

Down Syndrome is an extremely detailed and informative book that is well written from a multidimensional viewpoint to meet the needs of the wide variety of its audience, with various including scientists, parents, educators, professionals, general readers etc. This masterpiece contains an enormous scope of information, which addresses all the important aspects of Down syndrome, including the ones omitted by previous writers. Therefore, in my opinion, there are no issues that have not been addressed there.

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