A child still in the womb is reasonably protected against disease and germs. Even after birth a breast-fed infant may remain immune to certain diseases for quite some time because of antibodies in the breast milk. But thereafter the child begins to suffer from the usual childhood diseases. This is part of the normal development of every individual and may help to build a system of immunity against more serious illnesses.
Some mental, physical and probably also certain emotional difficulties, are the result of hereditary factors. Moreover, lack of oxygen during labour and several other – partly unknown – factors may be responsible for mental and/or physical deviations. Down’s syndrome and spasticity are recognizable at birth because the child shows certain outward characteristics. But it is also possible for an inherited deviation to manifest itself later; for instance, that the child cannot keep up at school or cannot manage certain physical performances. Children with a disability demand extra attention and care. The degree to which the parents must manage the situation so that the child may lead a reasonably independent and happy life depends primarily on the seriousness of the disability. Moreover, the attitude of the parents and the character of the child also play an important part.