Education

High Schooler With Down Syndrome Crushes It, Earns Diploma

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Grace Carr Reporter

A student with Down syndrome graduated with an impressive GPA Thursday after excelling in her school’s general education program, despite obstacles presented by her condition.

Kari Balazs graduated from Alabama’s Hoover High School May 24 with a 3.5 GPA, showing other Down syndrome students around the world that it’s possible, Alabama News first reported Tuesday.

Many children with Down syndrome in Alabama attend a special education program with modified standards in order to receive their high school diplomas, but Balazs wanted to do things just like everyone else. “If you are a parent with Down syndrome children, I would say fight for them,” Balazs said. “Put them in the same classes as the other kids because a lot of times people judge.”

She will also attend a four-year college in the fall.

Down syndrome is more common than any other chromosomal disorder, and roughly 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome every year in the U.S., according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Older mothers are much more likely to give birth to babies with the disorder, the CDC notes. (RELATED: Here’s What You Should Know About Down Syndrome Across America On World Down Syndrome Day)

People with Down syndrome live to be about 47 years old and around 50 percent of all babies born with the disorder also have a congenital heart defect, according to the CDC.

Despite a sizable number of young adults living with the disorder, many countries have encouraged mothers to abort their unborn baby if tests show the child will be born with the disorder. France had a 77-percent termination rate and Denmark had a 98-percent termination rate for unborn Down syndrome babies as of 2015.

Ninety percent of pregnant women who receive a test showing their unborn child will have Down syndrome abort their child in the United Kingdom, according to BBC News(RELATED: CBS Says Down Syndrome Is Disappearing In Iceland, But Here’s What’s Really Happening)

The U.S. however, has moved to protect babies with Down syndrome, introducing Down syndrome abortion bans in Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Ohio bans doctors from aborting babies who test positive for Down syndrome.

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