Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes lifelong mental problems, developmental delays as well as various other problems. Children with Down syndrome may have an increased risk for medical conditions such as heart defects, respiratory and hearing issues. Physical traits could include low muscle tone. Although children with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, therapy can help with increasing strength and reaching milestones.
There are many different indicators for if a child has Down syndrome. From distinct facial appearance to other impairments each child with Down syndrome has their own set of distinct impairments. Some of the more common features are:
- Flattened facial features
- Small head
- Short Neck
- Protruding tongue
- Unusually shaped ears
- Upward slanting eyes that are unusually shaped
- Broad, short hands
- Relatively short fingers
- Poor muscle tone
Infants with Down syndrome may be of average size, but they will grow slower and remain shorter than other children that are a similar age. They will also reach developmental milestones, such as sitting and crawling, slower than those of children without impairment.
Children with Down syndrome can benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Through physical therapy, our therapists help children with Down syndrome to develop their gross motor skills in a way that will be beneficial for them throughout their life. Our occupational therapists focus on the child’s ability to master skills for independence, which can include self-care skills such as feeding, dressing and grooming, their fine and gross motor skills, and play and leisure skills. Then our speech therapists will help your child work on their communication skills. All of our therapists can work with families to develop a program that will help Down syndrome children develop stronger life skills.