Caring for a child with Down’s Syndrome

Children born with Downs Syndrome face a struggle that surpasses what many could not comprehend. Through the struggles, an appreciation for life is formed, for the child, and also for the family. Downs Syndrome now affects one in every nine hundred children, making this a fast growing population of special needs children. Downs syndrome is caused by the mutation of the chromosomes. Downs Syndrome is detectable in-utero, and many decisions are made during that time.

Raising and caring for a child with Downs Syndrome requires a keen attention to detail to their health. These children, due to their extremely poor muscle tone, develop problems in their joints, gastrointestinal systems and eyes. The primary concern for them is the risk of congenital heart failure, which is responsible for more than half of their deaths. Other problems include seizures, thyroid disorders, and they also are more prone to colds and the flu. Due to a weakened immune system it may be important for Downs Syndrome children to stay current on their vaccinations, per their doctor.

It is essential that a caregiver, as well as the parent, become medically knowledgeable about the child’s disability. Children with Downs can grow to live full healthy lives. In the beginning, they can not do that themselves, it is up to the educators, teachers and caregivers to set them on the right path.

Children with Downs Syndrome often do experience speech and social issues. It is not entirely uncommon for the child to also be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or autism, though the latter in very minimal cases. They often need to be guided step by step through mundane behaviors, like bathing, teeth brushing, eating, etc. As with an autistic child, fluency building exercises work exceptionally well with Downs Syndrome children. This involves repeating the same behavior over and over, until it becomes fluent.

Diet and comparatively light exercises are critical to a child with Downs Syndrome. They are born and fail to develop adequate muscle tone, often causing joint problems. Slow and light exercise can give vital energy to their weakened muscle mass. Exercise will also help relieve some of the stress in the body, while giving enhancements to the lungs and the mind.

A proper diet including the essentials like protein and vitamins are critical to the health and well being of a child with Downs Syndrome. With so many complications, the worst thing for this child would be unhealthy, sugary, empty-calorie foods. Thick and hard substances should also be avoided, once again due to weakened muscle tone.

Developmental delays in children with Downs syndrome can often result in them learning to use sign language, beginning at the age they would typically begin to speak. Most of the children who developed sign language previous to verbal expression did eventually learn to speak, though at a slower and less frequent rate.

Care for a person with Downs Syndrome often lasts long into adulthood. As often the case with some older patients, once fluent social, behavior, and every day living skills can begin to decline, though most adults will live independently, others will move into a in a group setting, or care home.

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