Comparisons of Three NY Times’ Articles
I. Prenatal Test Puts Down syndrome in Hard Focus
By AMY HARMON DETROIT May 9, 2007
The article deals with an issue pertaining unborn/born children with disabilities, particularly those afflicted with Down syndrome. It has brought to the fore many details related to bearing and rearing up children with Down which otherwise would not have been observed by those who happen to have read this short expose’. Factors such as the parents who have children with Down, the diminishing population of children with this condition, pregnant mothers whose diagnosis indicated an “extra chromosome” in their fetuses, the ethical issues surrounding prenatal tests, how doctors should break it to expectant mothers the information etc; all these are examined in this short article.
Children born with Down syndrome number 5,500 every year in the United States and the prenatal testing, if people look at the other, “positive” side of it, has helped its decreased population . Though majority possess moderate mental retardation and some function to a certain extent with the capability of handling a job, many others of the population are in difficulty. The implications of testing and the choices more accessible to parents mean that help in time will be reduced, especially funding from both government and private sectors.
To those who are preparing to teach or handle a class of special students, this is a good reading. Even pregnant women, who have the high risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome, will find this article helpful and informative in a lot of things. The case of eleven years old Sarah Itoh who was made to stand in front of medical professionals – genetic counsellors and obstetricians – at Henry Ford Hospital was a touching and educational scene. It shows the fact that only when an actual case is presented that arguments for or against any matter are the strongest and could drive home quickly many lessons in a limited period of time. Indeed, the campaign being waged by these parents with children afflicted with Down syndrome is a worthy cause and can arrest the attention of many who have no inkling whatsoever about Down Syndrome – people whose knowledge of this specific retardation are limited.
Another aspect which the article has brought into focus is the boundaries that prenatal testings should set as apparently some of its repercussions are negative and literally fatal to the future of children with inborn disabilities. This also cast a dark shadow on parents who, through years of providing care and nurture to their special children, have learned to love and accept them as they are. The fear that is gripping the hearts of these concerned parents are those who have chosen to abort their unborn the moment they come discover from doctor’s diagnosis that they have a child with Down syndrome. The prenatal testing positively reduces the number of children born with the disorder because 90 percent of those who discovered chose to have their unborn babies “removed.” Advocacies for the disorder point to the fact that this breakthrough in science enables parents to have options, however, pro-life groups won’t be happy to see this direction.
II. The Gregarious Brain
Author: DAVID DOBBS, July 8, 2007
A fairly newly discovered disorder (circa 1960s), the Williams syndrome, puzzles many. This cognitive disorder, “genetic disorder defined with infectious affability,” is a result of a genetic accident – a deletion – during meiosis. IQ points go below the normal or average, around 60s and result in the inability of the adult person to deal with numbers, even fail at solving as simple as a six-piece jigsaw puzzle, and easily gets lost. Most are able to handle responsibilities that are limited to very simple tasks; however, they depend on support from their loved ones throughout their lives. But the traits that characterize them most is their gregariousness; their love for life and desire to connect with people. But no matter their effort and longing, with this deep desire, is their failure to establish bonding with other people. “Williams” as it is more known, afflicts people and may cause their death due to heart or vascular illness. The disorder as described by Dobbs afflicts one for every 1700, unlike Autism which is one for every 150 or, one for every 800 for individuals with Down syndrome. Children with Williams syndrome have faces and heads with an elfin shape. Their sociability need is higher than the normal person but they lack proficiency and/or skill to sustain normal individual relationships.
III. Clearly, Frankly, Unabashedly Disabled
By MIREYA NAVARRO May 13, 2007
It is true that the trend towards the high profile of even people with physical disabilities is on the rise, and their acceptability and society’s understanding have widened considerably as well. The article by Mireya Navarro is not new though. As mentioned, because of the success of the proper “positioning in the limelight” ” of people with physical deformity, it has not been that much of a difficulty compared with people who are mentally challenged like the Downs kids and the Williams’s. Pictures of those no longer ashamed that they lost a leg, like the one featured in the article, had become a normal occurrence in functions. They have developed significant self-confidence that when people tend to hurt them or reject them, they no longer easily take offense; rather they can creatively rebuff peoples’ insensitivity or self-centeredness.
A. Are these articles: Educational, informative, why use, why recommend or not?
Yes, all of the articles are educational and informative. They are worth recommending to others whether they are involved in the kind of work helping the physically and mentally disabled, or whether they are the curious. The writing style is not just academic, it entertains as well.
B. How informative?
The technical side, i.e. how many are afflicted, in what manner are the children afflicted (genetics- DNA level, etc.) and the many nuances common to scientific papers have been detailed in the articles without leaving the reader trapped in many terms that confuses him/her. It has in fact, helped elucidate these natural entanglements.
C. Why informative? Talk about the education factor, how these children are educated if any, about the parents, relevance or interest.
Informative because the reader leaves with a deeper understanding of the disorder, not just to pity the person and the people taking care of them, but a greater appreciation of what a seemingly “freak accident” of nature may leave to an otherwise normal person. For instance in the Williams case, the affable component of personality is magical if not for the fact that they die earlier much like those with Down syndrome who have the average life span of only 49 years old.
D. Is this article helpful to you as a teacher? Why are these articles a good source of information? Why and what could other students/ teachers learn from it and what would be important to them. What messages do these individual articles impart separately and as a whole?
Definitely helpful to me as a teacher, not only in disseminating information to the normal persons who walk the streets or I may encounter in my everyday dealing. Appreciation is the watchword in terms of looking into the world of the disabled. More importantly, with the parents and the children, adolescent and adults with the disabilities, the deeper insights into their pain and hardships have been widely understood based on the article.
H. Why would you recommend them to others
The best way is to send the articles as attachment to all people I know. Because I have access to local publications, I may even submit a revised or modified book/article review like this and have this published locally in school papers and other outlets thereby enlightening others just like I did.
1. Harmon, Amy. 2007. “Prenatal Test Puts Down Syndrome in Hard Focus”. Detroit. New York Times
2. Dobbs,David. 2007. “The gregarious brain.” http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/magazine/08sociability-t.html
3. Navarro, Mireya. 2007. “Clearly, frankly, unabashedly disabled.”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/fashion/13disabled.html?ex=1184472000&en=2b48545a3ad9374c&ei=5070