Down syndrome is not an illness that can be cured. However, that does not mean that those who have the condition are unable to live a healthy and happy life. In fact, some independence can even be achieved. Down syndrome treatments, as such, include:
• A regular, supportive family life where great parenting skills exist.
• Good education and support for the family and friends.
• Early intervention.
• Good health care.
The Emotional Impact of Down’s Syndrome
It is possible that parents are not aware of their children having Down’s syndrome until they are actually born. This can be incredibly alarming, of course. For some people, the adjustment is quick, others take time to come to terms with things. It is likely that you will feel all sorts of emotions, some of which may be very negative.
What matters most is that you don’t feel guilty about your feelings. Try to learn about the condition, what it means and what you can do. This has been shown to be helpful for parents, allowing them to come to terms with things.
Down Syndrome Symptoms
It is almost impossible to detect any symptoms that would have you consider that your child will be born with Down’s syndrome. Older women are more at risk of having a child with this chromosomal abnormality, but there are no tell-tale signs.
It is very demanding to live with a child with Down’s, particularly during formative years. A balance needs to be found. Not every activity has to be educational or meaningful, so do try to simply have fun as well.
A lot of children with Down’s syndrome attend mainstream nurseries and some even go to mainstream schools with some extra educational support. However, some children will be better suited to go to special educational needs schools. It is important to discuss this with health care providers and educational providers, who are best suited to determine this.
It is recommended to join support groups if your child has Down’s syndrome. This will allow you to enter into a network of people in the same situation, who may be able to help you with concerns. Similarly, you can help them as well. They may, for instance point you towards early intervention programs, which can provide you with great support. These programs generally include:
• Speech and language therapy
• Home teaching
• Teaching children with Down’s (they have different ways of absorbing information)
A Care Team of Professionals
If you have a child with Down’s syndrome, you will have a team of professionals around you that monitor the situation and support you where possible. Treatment for Down syndrome is more about preventative care than anything else. Professionals include:
• Physiotherapists, because children with Down’s often struggle with certain movements.
• Speech and language therapists, to help these children communicate better.
• Occupational therapists, who focus more on independent living.
• Dieticians, because people with Down’s are at particular risk of developing obesity.
• GPs, for overall health.
• Social workers, who can help with benefits, accommodation, schooling and more.
• Audiologists, because people with Down’s often have hearing problems.
• Ophthalmologists to check on eye problems.
• Orthopists to work on problems with eye movement. One of the known Down syndrome facts is that there are general malfunctions within the eyes of people with Down’s.
• Paediatrician for the younger ones, to assist with childhood development issues.
• Cardiologists, because many people with Down’s were born with an open heart or develop heart problems.
In terms of Down syndrome treatment prognosis, most children with Down’s don’t live very long. However, as medical science progresses, many of them are living well into adulthood. However, it is still quite uncommon for a child with Down’s to reach 40.