October 22, 2015

Portrait Of Beautiful Young Girl SmilingIn celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we will be providing information on how Down syndrome affects individuals.

Down syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal defects. It is cause by Trisomy 21, which is either a partial or full replication of chromosome 21. It is normally diagnosed prenatally, but if missed, it is diagnosed at birth. Down syndrome can affect each person differently. There can be issues with physical traits, developmental delays, learning disabilities, as well as other health conditions.

Physical Traits

Some common physical traits of Down syndrome are low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every child with Down syndrome is unique. They may have any or all of these characteristics indifferent degrees, or none of these characteristics.

Developmental Delay

Developmental delays occur in most kids with Down syndrome. Early intervention is key when trying to keep them close to the developmental timelines that other children follow. The table below shows the timeline for developmental milestones for kids with Down syndrome compared to the normal timeline.

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Without proper education and continued monitoring by a physical, occupational and/or speech therapist, children with Down syndrome are likely to experience major developmental delays.

Learning Disabilities

Children with Down syndrome usually learn and progress slower than other children. They typically have learning strengths in reading, social skills, and using visual learning supports. However, they tend to fall behind in other areas such as motor development, expressive language, speech clarity, number skills, and verbal short-term memory. Early intervention with a speech therapist is ideal.

Health Conditions

Some health conditions that are associated with Down syndrome are heart defects, hearing and sight issues, respiratory issues, digestive problems, and cancers such as Leukemia.

If you would like to learn more about Down syndrome or know somebody dealing this health condition, contact one of our Epic Health Services professionals to find out how we can help!