What is a Down's syndrome?
Down's syndrome is a life-long condition that causes delays in learning and development. Down's syndrome occurs because a baby's cells contain an extra chromosome 21. For every 1,000 babies born, one will have Down’s syndrome.
All people with Down's syndrome will have some degree of learning disability. Your child may learn and develop more slowly than other children, in general they may meet their developmental milestones later than their peers.
A significant number of people with Down’s syndrome will have hearing and sight problems and have increased joint mobility and low muscle tone which means they find activities which require muscle strength difficult.
How an Occupational Therapist may help
Occupational Therapy (OT) can help a child/young person with a Down’s syndrome participate in the activities within their daily lives that they need to do and/or want to do. Working closely with families and schools, an OT may provide any of the following interventions depending on the individual’s needs and goals:
- Advice and strategies to support their development and/or participation in functional tasks e.g. self-care, dressing, mealtimes, making a cup of tea or snack preparation. This may also include the provision of advice regarding ways of teaching and learning new skills.
- Environmental advice and/or minor equipment for both home and school.
- Advice and strategies with regards to specific moving and handling/management of risk for the individual child/young person
- Postural management e.g. specialist seating.
- Advice and strategies with regards to sensory modulation and integration to enable participation in daily activities.