Down Syndrome - Topic Overview
Starting soon after birth, a baby with Down syndrome will be tested for health problems, such as eye, ear, or thyroid problems. The sooner these problems are found, the better they can be managed. Regular doctor visits can help your child stay in good health.
Your doctor will make a treatment plan that meets your growing child's needs. For example, most children with Down syndrome need speech therapy and physical therapy. Teens and adults with Down syndrome may need occupational therapy to learn job skills and learn how to live on their own. Counseling may help with social skills and emotional issues.
Many professionals will help you and your child through life. But you are vital to your child's success. To help your child:
- Learn all you can about Down syndrome. This can help you know what to expect and how you can help your child.
- Find out what type of financial help you can get by contacting your state's Department of Developmental Disabilities.
- Check into resources in your area. For example, many states provide free early-intervention programs for children with Down syndrome up to age 3 to help them get off to a good start.
- Look into school options for your child. Federal law requires public schools to provide services to all children with disabilities who are ages 3 to 21.
Raising a child with Down syndrome has both challenges and rewards. Remember to take time for yourself. And ask for help when you need it. Talking to other parents who are raising children with Down syndrome can be a big help. Ask your doctor or hospital about parent support groups, or contact a group like the National Down Syndrome Congress.