What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder, affecting 1 out of 691 babies. The additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics often associated with Down syndrome.
What are the signs of Down syndrome?
A child with Down syndrome typically has certain characteristics such as flat facial features, small head and ears, short neck, poor muscle tone, bulging tongue and eyes that slant upward. A Down syndrome infant can be born a normal size, but development will be twice as slow as an unaffected child. A Down syndrome child will have mental and social development delays, which means they will have impulse behavior issues, poor judgment, short attention span and slow learning capabilities.
What treatment options are available for Down syndrome?
There are many treatment options for a child with Down syndrome; however, there is no cure for this condition. There are treatments and therapies for the physical, medical and cognitive problems associated with Down syndrome. These treatments can help people with Down syndrome live long healthy lives. People with Down syndrome are at increased risk for certain medical problems including heart defects, thyroid, muscle, joint, vision and hearing problems. Less frequent problems include leukemia and seizures. Treatments strategies for these issues include medication, surgical, physical therapy, and speech therapy to name a few. In addition, some families turn to caregivers or respite care for additional help.
For more information on treatment options, visit Very Well.
Managing Down syndrome
According to the National Institutes of Health, “There is no single, standard treatment for Down syndrome. Treatments are based on each individual’s physical and intellectual needs, as well as his or her personal strengths and limitations. People with Down syndrome can receive proper care while living at home and in the community. A child with Down syndrome likely will receive care from a team of health professionals, including, but not limited to, physicians, special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and social workers. All professionals who interact with children with Down syndrome should provide stimulation and encouragement.”
What services and resources are available for Down syndrome?
UCP of Sacramento and Northern California (UCP) provides numerous programs and services for individuals with Down syndrome such as UCP’s Adult Day program, CLASP program and Transportation services among others. Find out more about UCP programs and services.
How can I learn more about Down syndrome?
To learn more about Down syndrome, visit:
- The National Association for Down Syndrome
- Down Syndrome Information Alliance
- National Down Syndrome Congress