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Physiotherapy for Downsyndrome

Physiotherapy is highly beneficial for individuals with Downsyndrome. Physiotherapists play a vital role in the treatment of those with Downsyndrome. Early physiotherapy interventions for children with Downsyndrome can help to address any developmental problems and muscle weakness, whilst maximising function and their quality of life.

Problems experienced by individuals with Downsyndrome will vary amongst individuals; however, most children with DownSyndrome will have low muscle tone (hypotonia), decreased strength, shorter limbs and lax ligaments. All of these symptoms can result in children developing compensatory movement patterns to try and overcome these problems. If these compensatory movements are allowed to persist, orthopaedic and functional problems will often occur.

An initial assessment carried out by the physiotherapist will determine the type and severity of difficulties the individual is having with their motor skills and physical functioning. From the initial assessment the physiotherapist will implement an individualised treatment plan which will be tailored to the specific needs and abilities of the individuals.

Physiotherapy can help individuals with Downsyndrome to:

  • Develop gross motor skills such as sitting, crawling and standing
  • Improve posture
  • Improve balance
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Improve gait
  • Improve joint range of movement
  • Improve independence in functional activities
  • Reduce the development of compensatory patterns
  • Decrease the risk of joint problems as they age
  • Increase endurance
  • Improve quality of life

It is important that Physiotherapy interventions for individual