Human Relations Media Blog

Information and Resources for Guidance Counselors & Health Teachers

Living With Genetic Disorders

Posted on March 13th 2013

What is a Genetic Disorder?


A genetic disorder is a disease or condition caused by an abnormality in an individual's DNA.  Genetic disorders can be inherited from one or both of your parents, or they can happen completely randomly.  The causes of genetic disorders can range from one mutation in one particular gene to an addition or subtraction of an entire chromosome or set of chromosomes.  Some examples of common genetic disorders are sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's Disease, and Down Syndrome.

Living with a Genetic Disorder


Living with a genetic disorder is not always easy, particularly for teenagers and young adults who just want to be "like everyone else."  In many cases, teens have to adapt to a lifestyle that works best for their bodies, take steps to control or prevent health complications and embrace what makes them different.  


HRM Video is proud to announce the release of our newest program, Living with Genetic Disorders.  

In this film, four young adults with genetic disorders describe their personal struggles and triumphs and how cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, hemophilia, and Huntington's disease have changed their lives and their outlook on life. The video provides students with the basic biological facts necessary to understand how genes work and how genetic disorders are transmitted from one generation to the next. The four young adults relate their experiences growing up with these disorders and talk candidly about how their conditions affected their lives and their relationships with peers. Students will gain insights into the strategies these young people have used to cope with being different and will leave the video with a new appreciation of others in their school and community who may have similar afflictions.

What You Can DO


Start a conversation in your classroom about genetic disorders.  Which disorders are you students familiar with?  Here are some activity questions to get the conversation started:

- Some genetic disorders are inherited in your DNA and others happen randomly.  Explain the difference between the two and give examples of genetic disorders for each.

- Some genetic disorders are a deletion or addition of an entire chromosome or set of chromosomes.  Find an example of a disorder where this occurs and name the chromosome that is affected. 

- Come up with 5 interview questions to ask someone with a genetic disorder that interests you.  What would you ask that person and why?


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