Down Syndrome, Ages 1 to 5 - Topic Overview
If your child who has
Down syndrome is between the ages of 1 and 5 years,
you will likely have ongoing questions and concerns. Your doctor can help
answer your questions and guide you to appropriate resources to help you manage
your feelings and plan for your child's long-term care needs.
Your doctor will likely address a variety of issues during
your child's regularly scheduled checkups. In addition to talking about health problems, your doctor may talk with you about concerns like:
- Growth and development. Children with Down
syndrome grow and develop in the same way as other children but at a slower
- Education. Early-intervention programs exist for babies and
young children up to age 3. Staff and caregivers in these programs monitor and
encourage the development of children with special needs. If early intervention
is not available in your area, you may be able to find people to help
your child with physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Discuss preschool
programs and other current or future school placement.
- Behavior and
relationships. Your doctor will want to know whether your child gets along with
siblings and has generally acceptable and healthy behavior. Consider whether
there is a need for behavioral management, social skills, or recreational
skills training. Discuss how your other children are adjusting to having a
sibling with Down syndrome.
- Diet and exercise. Children with Down
syndrome are prone to gaining weight. Your doctor can advise you on how to
prevent your child from becoming overweight by providing a balanced diet and
encouraging regular physical activity.
- Preventing common
illnesses. Taking precautions to prevent colds and other respiratory infections
is important for a child with Down syndrome. A narrow nose and air passages
make children with Down syndrome prone to minor blockages from mucus during
respiratory infections. A stuffy nose forces your child to breathe through the
mouth. This dries out the mucous membranes and increases the chances of an upper
respiratory infection. Your child's immunization history should also be
discussed and reviewed.
If you have concerns about your chances of having another child with
Down syndrome, talk with your doctor at this time. You may want to discuss how
the condition may be diagnosed during pregnancy.