- Kids Health
Down Syndrome in Children : Causes Symptoms and Treatments
Down’s Syndrome: An Overview
Down's syndrome is a chromosomal disorder. It is caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. A person who is affected by Down's syndrome will have 47 chromosomes instead of 46.
This syndrome usually occurs in 1 in every 1000 babies. This syndrome can affect a child's mental as well as physical development. They usually have developmental difficulties & have to be send to special schools.It was discovered by a British physician John Langdon Brown in the year 1866.
Causes of Down syndrome
The exact reason for the Down syndrome occur is not yet known. The age of the mother is considered to be one factor i.e. as the age of the mother increases; more are the chances for the child to get Down syndrome.
How Down Syndrome Affect Kids?
The symptoms for Down syndrome vary from person to person. There are obvious physical as well as mental side effects & are much slower in development compared to normal children. Kids usually have a flat facial profile, small ears, upward slant to the eyes, excess skin at the nape of the neck & a protruding tongue. Another important feature is the low muscle tone also known as Hypotonia.
Along with various difficulties in speech development along with delay in leaning to feed ,dress etc, they also show delayed mental & social development like low attention, slow learning etc.
Even though we can find out whether a child has Down syndrome when he/she is still in the mother’s womb, it is difficult to ascertain the degree of the syndrome & how it will affect the child.
There are a lot of other serious medical issues which a child with Down syndrome can experience. They can develop serious heart defects & also irreversible damage to the lungs. They also develop problems of hearing & vision. Regular evaluations’ by an ophthalmologist & audiologist are necessary to detect these problems in the kids with Down syndrome.
Other medical conditions which can occur are thyroid problems, intestinal abnormalities, respiratory issues, childhood leukemia etc.
Diagnosis of Down Syndrome
Down syndrome can be detected at as early as five months by a screening blood test known as Triple test. Even though this test shows negative, there are minute chances that the child can still have Down syndrome. These are easy to perform even though they do not give a definite answer. If there is a risk detected, then the parents can go for diagnostic tests.
Diagnostic tests are 9% accurate. But they are conducted inside the uterus which is risky for the baby. Diagnostic test are therefore conducted only for women who are above 35 years of age, or for those who have a family history of genetic defects.
Down Syndrome Slide Show
Treatment of Down Syndrome
There is no particular treatment for Down syndrome. Children born with heart & respiratory problems may need immediate surgery. Extra care should be taken while breast feeding i.e. apt support should be given to the baby.
Behavioral training is important as well as special training classes should be given for the parents to deal with children born with Down syndrome.
Special education & training is offered in many communities for children with delay in mental development. Speech therapy can be used to improve their language skills. Occupational therapy with trained therapists may help in their feeding & performance tasks.