The Facts about Down's Syndrome

Mental Retardation (Down's Syndrome/ Trisomy 21)

Definition:  This condition characterized by subnormal mental, physical, and psychological capacity from early in life and during the growth period, which is shown by lack of maturation and ability to learn and manifested by poor adaptive behavior.

Possible Causes:

  • Micro-/hydrocephaly
  • Craniosynostosis - premature closure of the fontanels.
  • Rubella; sexually transmitted disease; blood incompatibility
  • Kernicterus
  • Meningitis, encephalitis
  • Poisoning
  • Brain tumors
  • Deprivation, malnutrition

Psychological Classification:

  • IQ of 50 - 75 - mildly retarded or educable
  • IQ of 30 - 50 - moderately retarded or trainable
  • IQ below 30 - severely retarded of the custodial type

Characteristics:

  • Lateral upward slanting of the eyes
  • Flattened occiput
  • Short nose with flat bridge
  • Protruding fissured tongue
  • Single Transverse palmar crease also known as simian crease
  • Increased spaces between first and second fingers and toes
  • Broad and square hands and feet
  • Congenital heart defect is common
  • Abnormally aligned teeth
  • Prone to respiratory tract infections
  • Less sensitive to heat, cold, and pain
  • Poorly developed genitalia and delay in the development of secondary sex characteristics

Management:

  • Take not of the factors that affect rehabilitation program: Parenting acceptance and degree of cooperation, child's motivation.
  • Consider the functional/ developmental level of the child, not his /her chronological age.
  • Help the child achieve his maximum potential; the ultimate dignity as an individual is to be considered.


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