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Down Syndrome Treatment: How To Support Your Child

Down Syndrome Treatment: How To Support Your Child

Down syndrome occurs when a person is born with an extra copy of one of their chromosomes. Specifically, they have a copy of chromosome 21, the smallest human autosome and chromosome. Learn more about diagnosis and Down syndrome treatment here.

Since chromosomes are responsible for determining how a baby’s body develops and functions as a whole, an excess or lack of any of the 46 chromosomes have implications on a person’s physical and intellectual development.

People identified as having an extra copy of a chromosome are described as having a trisomy. As such, Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21, named after the type of chromosome that is in excess.

Down Syndrome Treatment: Symptoms and Diagnosis

Signs of Down syndrome can be identified as soon as the child is born by observing the physical features.

Another way is through Amniotic Fluid Testing, which is a test that aims to detect genetic abnormalities as early as the 10th week of pregnancy. These tests can detect conditions such as Patau Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome, and Down Syndrome.

Other screening and diagnostic tests may also be done to help rule out the possibility of one’s child having down Syndrome. It must be noted, however, that these tests are not guaranteed to be accurate all the time.

The features of Down syndrome may be observed from childbirth and any stage of the child’s development. Features include but are not limited to:

  • A face that is characteristically more flat
  • Slanted eyes that are shaped like almonds
  • Smaller ears than usual
  • Abnormally short necks
  • Prevalence of the tongue sticking out of the mouth
  • Smaller hands and feet than usual
  • A palmar crease, which is a singular crease found in the person’s palm
  • Shortened and smaller pinky appendages
  • Loose joints and weaker muscular development
  • Shorter height than usually observed for all stages of development
  • Presence of small white spots located in the person’s iris, or colored part of the eye

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Causes of Down Syndrome

Though the sole cause of the development of this syndrome is associated with the excess of chromosome 21, another factor that may increase the chances of developing this condition is the current age of the mother.

For pregnant women aged 35 and above, the risk of their children being affected by Down syndrome is proportionally higher than pregnant women that are younger.

Effects of Down Syndrome

Although the signs above mentioned are regarded as symptoms, there are other symptoms that Down Syndrome patients have to deal with in their daily lives. Since Down Syndrome patients have slower and poorer physical development, it may take more time and practice to get used to physical activities such as rolling, walking, running, stretching, jumping, and more. This, however, does not mean that it is impossible for patients.

Aside from difficulties with physical development, intellectual development is also affected. Cognitive impairment for Down Syndrome patients is usually minimal, and at times, moderate. However, this impairment has many effects. It can affect their attention spans, sometimes leading to slower development of judgment and decision-making skills. It may also create a prevalence of impulsive behavior manifestation, and cause a delay in the development of language and speech skills.

Additionally, Down Syndrome patients are at risk of other types of health conditions, such as problems relating to one’s hormones and glands, vision and hearing loss, heart abnormalities, and autism disorders.

Diagnosis and Down Syndrome Treatment

Treating Down syndrome is tough, as there is no known cure, and it is a lifelong condition. Support and other services may be provided to help combat the child’s challenges due to the impediments to his or her physical and intellectual capabilities. The earlier these services are applied, the better for the child. A strong support system is needed along with the commitment of the parents and caregivers to help children overcome the challenges they will face.

A great tool parents may use is to help foster and develop whatever their child may be talented in, and to increase their aptitude in that certain talent to help them thrive and be proud of the life they have.

Key Takeaway

Down syndrome occurs when a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. It is a lifelong condition that presents some physical and cognitive challenges. Personal support and support services may aid in surmounting the challenges.

Learn more about General Health Knowledge here.

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Sources

Down Syndrome, https://medlineplus.gov/downsyndrome.html
Accessed April 17, 2021

Facts about Down Syndrome, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome.html
Accessed April 17, 2021

What causes Down Syndrome?, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/down/conditioninfo/causes
Accessed April 17, 2021

What is Down Syndrome?, https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome/
Accessed April 17, 2021

Down Syndrome: Condition Info, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/down/conditioninfo
Accessed April 17, 2021

Down Syndrome (for Parents), https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/down-syndrome.html
Accessed April 17, 2021

 

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Written by Amable Aguiluz Updated May 04
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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