Down Syndrome (cont.)

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How is Down syndrome managed?

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Although the genetic cause of Down syndrome is known, there is currently no cure. Due to advances in technology, scientists are slowly beginning to understand which genes when present in three copies are responsible for which Down syndrome characteristics, but it will take many years to fully grasp the complex interplay between the different genes. Much research to date is focused on understanding the causes of impaired cognition in Down syndrome and on finding potential therapies that might improve learning. Most of these studies are carried out using animal models of Down syndrome, but some human clinical trials involving potential therapies are also being conducted.

Corrective surgery for heart defects, gastrointestinal irregularities, and other health issues is necessary for some individuals. Regular health checkups should be scheduled to screen for other conditions such as visual impairments, ear infections, hearing loss, hypothyroidism, obesity, and other medical conditions.

Individuals with Down syndrome should be fully included in family and community life.

What about early intervention and education for Down syndrome?

It is very important to stimulate, encourage, and educate children with Down syndrome from infancy. Programs for young children with special needs are offered in many communities. Early intervention programs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can be very helpful.

What are the needs of infants and preschool children with Down syndrome?

Like all children, children with Down syndrome greatly benefit from being able to learn and explore in a safe and supportive environment. Being included in family, community, and preschool life will help a child with Down syndrome develop to his or her full potential.

While social development and social learning are often quite good, development in other areas such as motor skills, speech, and language are usually delayed. Many children with Down syndrome eventually reach most developmental milestones, but mild to severe learning difficulties will persist throughout life.

In general, children with Down syndrome are more prone to illnesses, and vision and hearing impairments, which can contribute to the child's learning difficulties. Regular health checkups are very important. Some children may have more severe developmental delays. This could be due to coexisting medical or psychiatric conditions such as seizures, autism, or ADHD.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/4/2014

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Down Syndrome - Symptoms Question: Are you caring for someone with Down syndrome? What symptoms is he/she experiencing with Down syndrome?
Down Syndrome - Experience Question: Please describe your child's experience with an early intervention program for Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome - Coping and Management Question: In what ways does having a child with Down syndrome affect your life and family?
Down Syndrome - Maternal Age Question: Was maternal age an issue in conceiving a child with Down syndrome? Please share your story.

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