Down syndrome is a condition that occurs when a baby is born with an extra chromosome. This condition typically causes mental and physical problems for the baby.
Some common physical signs of Down syndrome include:
How often Down syndrome occurs:
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year about 3,357 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome (1). In other words, about 13 of every 10,000 babies born in the United States each year is born with Down syndrome.
Developmental problems associated with Down syndrome:
Some problems associated with Down syndrome may include:
Early intervention is important for children with Down syndrome. We tend to see better treatment outcomes for those that start treatment earlier. This may be attributed to the neuroplasticity that is present in young children. Common therapies for children who have Down syndrome include speech-language, occupational and physical therapy; however, the plan of care should always be delineated based on the child's assessment. With consistent, expert care, these children can usually make progress.
What about the feeding problems and tongue thrust?
Most children with Down syndrome exhibit feeding difficulties and tongue thrust (a protruding tongue and open mouth posture). Through intensive therapy, we have seen these symptoms improve! It is possible for a child with this condition to show a closed mouth posture much of his or her day, when given expert treatment. We have seen children progress from eating pureed foods to all solids without limitations. Treatment takes time. It is not an overnight fix. However, with dedication and commitment, these symptoms can be positively impacted.