Down's Syndrome
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Down Syndrome

"Down's children are so loving!" Well, up to a point... 
There is a tendency to generalize about people with Down's Syndrome, possibly because the physical characteristics are fairly consistent. Yet each person with Down's Syndrome is as individual as anyone who doesn't have Down's. The things they have in common are more likely to be specific difficulties arising from those physical characteristics, such as feeding/eating/speech problems, hearing or movement difficulties.
With appropriate input, many Down's people are able to lead fulfilling lives and there are well-established support groups to offer advice and help to parents and carers.
If you would like more specific help, with feeding, communication and literacy development,
please contact us.

There are more than 50 characteristic features of Down syndrome. Each child's symptoms vary in number and severity. But many of these characteristics and features also occur in children who do not have Down syndrome.

General characteristics

Most children with Down syndrome have some of the following physical traits:

bulletShort stature. A child often grows slowly and, as an adult, is shorter than average.
bulletWeak muscles (hypotonia) throughout the body. A child may seem to have less strength than other children of the same age. Weak abdominal muscles also make the stomach stick out. Normally, children's stomach muscles gradually strengthen around age 2.
bulletA short, wide neck with excess fat and skin. Usually, this trait is less obvious as the child gets older.
bulletShort, stocky arms and legs. Some children also have a wide space between the big toe and second toe.
bulletA single crease across the center of the palms of the hands. This is called a transverse palmar crease or simian line.

Facial features

Down syndrome often results in distinct facial features, such as:

bulletSmall, low-set ears.
bulletIrregularly shaped mouth and tongue. The child's tongue may partly stick out. The roof of the mouth (palate) may be narrow and high with a downward curve.
bulletA nasal bridge that looks pushed in. The nasal bridge is the flat area between the nose and eyes.
bulletTissue buildup on the colored part of the eye (iris). These areas are known as Brushfield's spots and do not affect the child's vision.
bulletIrregular and crooked teeth that often come in late and not in the normal sequence.

Other medical conditions

A child may have other medical conditions related to Down syndrome, such as:

bulletCognitive disability (mental retardation). Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate cognitive disability.
bulletHeart defects. About half of children with Down syndrome are born with a heart defect. Most defects are diagnosed at birth or shortly thereafter.
bulletDiseases such as hypothyroidism, celiac disease, and eye conditions.

Children with Down syndrome are also prone to developing other health problems. For example, respiratory infections, hearing problems, and dental problems are common.

See the National Down Syndrome Society

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