Students Take on Role of Genetic Counselors

Students in Mrs. Gariboldi's Biology classes recently were tasked with acting as genetic counselors in some staged, but also some real scenarios. Parents and community represenatitives were invited to come in and have students discuss with them potential for any future children having a genetic disorder. Much like real genetic counselors, students were working off of preliminary background information supposedly taken from the clients prior to the meeting. Students researched the diseases and disorders, created Punnett squares and pedigrees for their clients, and prepared a presentation including visuals. Students had to also be prepared for any questioning from the clients. Most of the guests were taking on the role of a potential parent with a suspect genetic pedigree, while a few volunteers were actually faced with these decisions based on their actual genetic heritage.

One guest with a real genetic concern was eager to share how thorough he felt the counseling sessions were. "The students told me more about my son's actual illness, treatment options, and the pedigree associated than the doctors who diagnosed him years ago. Genetic counseling isn't typically covered by insurance and isn't within reach of everyone financially."