Down's Syndrome


Down's Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes some level of learning disabilities and a range of physical features. Children with Down's Syndrome are likely to have reduced muscle tone and muscle weakness leading to difficulty in completing occupations both at home and at school.

An occupational therapist would be able to provide assessment and treatment for Down's Syndrome, identifying the key learning difficulties and how these are impacting upon both the school and the home environment, identifying how reduced muscle tone is resulting in poor occupational performance and offer treatment to manage these symptoms.

Does your child have any of the following difficulties?


Down's Syndrome is typically characterised by facial features such as eyes that slant upwards and outwards, a round shaped face, a small nose and a flat nasal bridge. Down's Syndrome often results in the following difficulties:
  • Reduced muscle tone
  • Hyper-flexibility
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor grip
  • Poor handwriting
  • Co-ordination difficulties
  • Delayed development in fine and gross motor skills
An occupational therapist would be able to provide effective treatment and assessment of the level of disability that Down's Syndrome is impacting upon your child. The occupational therapist would work together with you and your child to achieve the goals that you would like to achieve.

How can these difficulties impact on function?


Children with Down's Syndrome often have profound learning difficulties that impact upon function at home, in school and socially. The level of the learning disabilities will depend on the child, varying from profound to mild. Some of these difficulties are listed below:

Home:
  • Delayed milestones
    • Rolling, sitting, sit to stand, grasping objects, passing objects from one hand to another and various other milestones are delayed due to Down's Syndrome.
  • Behavioural issues with siblings
  • Poor grip
  • Difficulty carrying food, drink through the house without spilling it
School:
  • Learning difficulties
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Understanding abstract concepts
Social/behavioural:
  • Bullying
  • Isolated, lack of friends

What exactly is Down's Syndrome?


Down's Syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs during development. In normal development 23 chromosomes are produced, however in a child with Down's Syndrome an extra chromosome is formed (under chromosome 21) and this is thought to be the cause of the condition.

It is diagnosed mainly during childhood and is noticeable through the facial characteristics that are common with the condition. However screening tests during pregnancy can indicate the likelihood of your child being born with Down's Syndrome.

Prevalence:


Each year in the UK approximately one in every 1,000 babies are born with Down's Syndrome.

Occupational therapy treatment available for Down's Syndrome


An occupational therapist can provide effective treatment and management of the symptoms of Down's Syndrome and offer advice and support to the parents of a child with the condition. Treatment could involve the following:
  • Fine motor improvement therapy
  • Gross motor activity training
  • Home or school visit
  • Improved handwriting
  • Improved social skills
  • Improved grip and skills involving carrying objects
  • Increased independence in getting dressed and planning their day

Summary


In summary Down's Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes some level of learning disabilities and a range of physical features. Each year in the UK approximately one in every 1,000 babies are born with Down's Syndrome. An occupational therapist would be able to provide effective treatment and assessment of the level of disability that Down's Syndrome is impacting upon your child.

How to arrange to see a paediatric occupational therapist?


If your child has Down's Syndrome or you think that they may have some of the symptoms, our occupational therapists can help. Please email office@otforkids.co.uk or call us on 0330 223 0888 for a referral or to simply talk about the concerns you may have for your child.

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OT for Kids have been a great help in aiding my son Jake with coping with his dyspraxia both at home and in school. They came out to our house and completed the assessment at home.

The assessment and report proved beneficial in our discussions with Jake's school and we are very pleased with the outcome the report has helped us achieve.
Jackie, parent.
At our school, there are many children who have difficulty forming letters correctly, concentrate or perform well in P.E, which can impact greatly on their learning. With the support and OT Groups available from OT for Kids, these children have made great progress and are now at a level which is not so concerning. As a teacher and SENCO, I thoroughly enjoyed working (and learning) from the Occupational Therapist.
Emily, SENCO and Teacher.
As a case manager, I regularly deal with many private companies. I found OT for Kids to be highly professional, reliable and provide me with flexible appointments that suited both me and my clients. The OT completed a comprehensive assessment and report, which was not only clear, concise and an accurate reflection of the difficulties, but it was returned to me quickly.
John, Case Manager.
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