DOWN SYNDROME

MEDICAL DESCRIPTION

Down Syndrome is a common genetic condition. Children with Down Syndrome have a characteristic appearance, but it can only be diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed by genetic testing. It causes children to grow, develop and learn more slowly than other children.

  • Most children with the condition have low muscle tone and strength (“floppy” muscles and loose joints). It takes them longer to learn to walk, run, etc., but almost all children with Down Syndrome do learn to do these things.
  • The muscle problems can affect their mouths, too, so they are often slow to talk and hard to understand. They usually understand better than they can talk.
  • Because babies with Down Syndrome have poor muscle tone and a protruding tongue, feeding babies with Down Syndrome usually takes longer.
  • Children with Down Syndrome are at higher risk for medical problems like ear infections, respiratory infections, hearing loss, vision problems, digestive problems and heart disease.

TREATMENT

  • These children CAN learn!
  • Break tasks into small simple steps and give lots of practice. Have patience!
  • Encourage the child to do physical activities, take care of him/herself and play with others.
  • When the child is learning to walk, give him something to push or kneel down on and hold his hands straight out. DON’T help him walk by holding his hands/arms over his head — this can dislocate his shoulders if he falls.
  • Include the child in group activities, songs, etc. She can learn a lot by watching other children.
  • It is important for these children to be followed closely by a physician so medical problems can be treated as they arise.
  • Although Down Syndrome can not be “fixed,” scientists have identified the genes that cause the characteristics of Down Syndrome. Researchers feel strongly it may be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down Syndrome in the future.

PROGNOSIS

  • These children can be helped to become independent and happy!
  • They learn, play, go to school, do sports, etc.
  • With loving support, children with Downs can grow up to be productive members of society.

* Medical information courtesy of LoveWithoutBoundaries.com

READY TO LEARN MORE?
Reach out to AGCI’s Inquiry Team or call 800-214-6719.