Pediatric Therapy For Children With Down Syndromehttps://www.triumphtherapeutics.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Triumph-Therapeutics-Speech-Therapy-OT-Physcial-Therapist-Washington-DC-Dec03-01-2021.jpg 710 379 Triumph Therapeutics Triumph Therapeutics https://www.triumphtherapeutics.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Triumph-Therapeutics-Speech-Therapy-OT-Physcial-Therapist-Washington-DC-Dec03-01-2021.jpg
Pediatric therapy for children with Down syndrome is very important.
The key is starting early so that your child’s development doesn’t slow down because of their condition.
Down syndrome is lifelong and typically is accompanied by various disabilities, which is why supporting their development is so crucial.
The goal is to give your child a holistic system of support that will prepare them for a fulfilling, independent life.
Now, let’s dive in.
What Is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a condition that causes physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities because a child is born with an extra copy of their twenty first chromosome.
It is a lifelong condition that carries with it lifelong disabilities, and a shortened life expectancy.
However, people with Down syndrome can lead very healthy and fulfilling lives with today’s medical and cultural advances.
Types Of Down Syndrome
There are three main types of Down syndrome that vary based on the nature of the extra chromosome the child is born with.
Mosaicism is a type of Down syndrome that occurs if your child is born with an extra chromosome in some, but not all of their cells.
As a result, people with mosaic Down syndrome will typically have fewer, and less severe, symptoms than the other types.
Translocation Down syndrome occurs if your child only has an extra part of the chromosome 21 on any of their chromosomes.
Finally, Trisomy 21 occurs when there is an extra copy of the chromosome 21 in every cell.
This is the most common type of Down syndrome.
How Can Down Syndrome Affect Development?
Like with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome occurs in utero, which means it affects every stage of development.
You might notice that your baby is an average size at birth, but they will develop more slowly.
In addition, your child will usually have some type of developmental delay that can range from mild to moderate.
Some examples of this delay could include:
- Impulsive behavior
- Short attention span
- Impaired learning capabilities
- Poor judgment
People with any type of Down syndrome are also prone to medical complications that can include:
- Hearing loss
- Poor vision
- Congenital heart defects
- Sleep apnea
They are also more prone to infections and may experience a higher amount of respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and skin infections.
How Can A Speech Therapist For Down Syndrome Help?
Down syndrome can impact your child’s ability to articulate their words, and their ability to hear and understand language.
Starting speech therapy early in their lives with a speech therapist can greatly improve their resulting quality of life.
Speech therapy can also help with any swallowing, feeding, or mealtime issues in addition to supporting language development.
This type of therapy will focus on strengthening the facial muscles necessary for both eating and articulation.
It’s also worth noting that sign language can help to support speech and language development transitionally if your child has Down syndrome.
It becomes a tool used to help them develop their oral language skills, even if they are not deaf or hard of hearing.
Because some of the symptoms of Down syndrome can mimic the symptoms with childhood apraxia of speech, speech therapy for Down syndrome will sometimes take a similar approach.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways a speech therapist can help support your child’s development if they have Down syndrome.
Timing is everything and can make a massive difference if speech therapy is started early.
How Can An Occupational Therapist For Down Syndrome Help?
Occupational therapy can help children with Down syndrome in a variety of ways that focus on mastering the skills required for independence.
Some focus areas include:
- Fine and gross motors skills
- Self-care skills like feeding, dressing, grooming, etc.
- Play and leisure skills
- Academic performance skills like printing, cutting, etc.
They will accomplish these goals by first educating you on what your child’s gross motor skills milestones will look like and how you can best support them.
Down syndrome causes low muscle tone and loose joint ligaments, which occupational therapy can be a great help for.
This way you can support their development as they grow.
Once they get to an older age, your child’s occupational therapist can work with them in the clinic to focus on the skills that are most necessary.
Your therapist will determine which these are based on consistent assessments and monitoring as your child grows, while also working with your child’s school in order to set them up for success beyond the clinic and home.
How Can A Physical Therapist For Down Syndrome Help?
Finally, physical therapists can be a great addition to a healthcare team to support your child with Down syndrome.
Their specialty is to help your child gain strength and movement skills in order to function at their best at all stages of life, starting with childhood.
Starting physical therapy early will help your child develop to their maximum potential with a special focus on skills like muscle strength, balance, coordination, and movement skills.
But first, your physical therapist will find out about your child’s birth and developmental history, and conduct an assessment to evaluate which skills they need to focus on.
This could be anything from general motor development like sitting, crawling, or kneeling to more advanced skills like running or kicking a ball.
The specialized program your physical therapist creates will:
- Improve strength
- Improve developmental skills
- Improve balance, coordination, and postural control
- Improve physical fitness
It will be a systemic approach designed to support your child’s development holistically.
Book Your Appointment With Triumph Therapeutics Today
There’s a great benefit to be had working with a team of experienced professionals to support your child with Down syndrome.
Often, working with pediatric speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists together can be the recipe for success that helps your child grow to have a fulfilling, and independent life.
Book an appointment today with Triumph Therapeutics to get started.
If you’re ready to take the next step, reach out today for a free phone consultation.
Triumph Therapeutics is a team of highly experienced pediatric therapists specializing in physical therapy, speech language therapy, and occupation therapy for children, adolescents and their families as they work to reach their growth and wellness goals