What is Down Syndrome?
Down Syndrome, also known as trisomy 21 or trisomy G is thought to be one of the most common genetic causes of cognitive impairment.
Down Syndrome is characterized by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 in the genetic makeup of the individual. The condition has been found to occur in approximately 1 in 800 live births. Down Syndrome causes impairments in cognitive functioning and differences in physical growth.
What are some cognitive symptoms of Down Syndrome?
- Moderate cognitive impairment with a fair amount of variability such that some individual’s exhibit overall cognitive functioning in the broadly average range
- Weakness with grammatical aspects of language
- Impairments with verbal short term memory
- Weakness with daily living skills
What are some physical characteristics of Down Syndrome?
Children with Down Syndrome often present with a variety of physical characteristics which differ from other children. Some characteristics of Down Syndrome include:
- Flat facial profile
- Upward slant to the eyes
- Small ears
- Protruding tongue
- Low muscle tone
- Delays in achieving gross motor milestones
- Decreased growth patterns
- Difficulty with feeding
How can I help treat my child’s Down Syndrome?
There have been numerous studies which indicate that a multi-tiered treatment approach can be beneficial to help children with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. The multi-tiered treatment approach includes:
- Speech and language therapy with possibly teaching sign language
- Use of a visually based intervention that teaches reading and vocabulary skills
- Emphasis on the development of phonological awareness to improve reading
- Use of rehearsal and repetition to enhance memory skills.
- Occupational therapy for sensory integration and motor development
- Parent training to emphasize the use of structure and planning
Our approach to Down Syndrome at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, we know that early intervention is key to helping children with Down Syndrome develop properly. Our team will determine the intensity and frequency of therapies, and we custom tailor each therapy to your child’s specific needs. Because we understand that conditions such as Down Syndrome affect both the patient and his/her family, we offer counseling services to help families cope with their loved one’s diagnoses. Additionally, speech-language pathologists, physical, occupational and behavioral therapists can help families learn how to create optimal learning and home environments in which their child can most successfully develop.