- How is Downs Syndrome Diagnosed?
- How is Downs Syndrome Treated?
- Occupational Therapy for Downs Syndrome
- Speech and Language Therapy for Downs Syndrome
- Physiotherapy for Downs Syndrome
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What is Downsyndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic, chromosomal disorder in which an individual inherits an additional 21st chromosome, so they have three rather than the normal two. It is a lifelong condition that develops while the baby is in the womb. It affects normal physical development and causes mild to moderate learning difficulties. Most children will reach developmental milestones, but at a slower rate than others of the same age.
The extra 21st chromosome causes developmental delays and characteristic changes in physical features in individuals with Downsyndrome. The following features are common amongst individuals with Downsyndrome:
- Low-set eyes, sloping upwards
- Small mouth, leading to the tongue appearing big and sticking out
- Flat back of the head
- Flat bridge of the nose
- Floppiness of limbs, cause by low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Broad hands
- Small, low set ears
- Low birth weight
- Short stature
Downsyndrome is associated with other health complications including:
- Congenital heart disease
- Hearing problems
- Vision problems
- Thyroid problems
- Poor immunity, leading to increased risk of chest infections
- Digestive system problems
- Early onset of dementia, normally 20-30 years earlier than the rest of the population
The cause of Downsyndrome is currently unknown and there is no way to prevent the chromosomal error occurring. The single, biggest risk factor identified appears to be the age at which a woman gives birth. The older the woman is during labour, the higher the risk of the baby having Downsyndrome.