Down syndrome is a genetic condition that results when a person is born with 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of the usual 46.This change affects the person growth both physically and cognitively. It results in many other health issues throughout their life.
Following Are The Problems Faced By Down Syndrome Children In Everyday Life:
- Home Tasks:
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Children with down syndrome have trouble in performing normal home tasks such as putting on clothes, buttoning the buttons, they loss their balance while putting on their pants. Due to the fine and gross motor control and low muscle tone they do not function properly in home and school environment. They have trouble in feeding as it is hard for them to masticate their food and getting them down.
- School Task:
Many children go to regular schools and may go to regular classes but some need special classes to work out where they have more trouble. Children have difficulty in cutting, pasting objects plus with their handwriting. Learning comes at a snail\'s pace to such children.
As people with DS has problem of shuttering, grasping grammar and sentence formation, so it becomes a barrier for them to converse with other people. Those with low confidence feel difficulty in making friends and feel dependent.
- Living Situation:
Some people with DS are socially energetic rather than being dull because of this disorder. Adults can live on their own or with family or friends. Some got difficulty with their social life like riding a bus to go about to everyday activities. Not many people with DS have freedom.
- Jobs And Higher Education:
People with DS face barriers on attaining higher education as they do not get any support from tutors or any technology. They also get bullied because of this disorder. Most of the adults remain jobless and few of them get jobs in limited number of fields such as areas of food, landscaping, office work etc. A very small fraction gets full time paid employment.
- Social Development:
Social development is usually not delayed in DS children as they learn social behaviour from others, friends or TV characters. Not all of them are socially active. They can become less or more social over time as well. They are emotionally full of life and have feelings and moods.
- Health Problems:
People with DS are at increased risk of having health issues like heart disease, sleep apnea, vision, hearing issues, Alzheimer’s etc. they are more likely to have mental health issues such as depression because they are undertreated. Through memory loss their personality changes, decreased interest in activities and aggression etc. Men with DS are infertile while females are not.
How Can We Help Down Syndrome As A Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist will first determine the type and severity of difficulties the individual is having in the motor or gross skills then design individualized programs for treatment that may include the following goals:
- Improving developmental skills:
Motor skills such as crawling, getting up from sitting to standing and walking can be mastered by the child with the help of physiotherapist. Hands on training can be provided by the caregiver for feeding, positioning, movement, play to encourage movement and communication development.
- Improving strength:
Games and fun tasks can be provided to improve muscle strength. The tasks can be adjusted as the child grows identifying new fitness activities that help to maintain heart health too.
- Improving balance, coordination and control:
Firm round pillow or an exercise ball can be used to improve the ability of the child to hold head straight and maintain correct sitting position. Other activities such as skipping, jumping can be used to maintain balance and control.
- Improving physical fitness:
Activity limitations or decreased participation with family or friends can be reduced by community involvement that will promote healthy lifestyle of the child. Also by diet plans and specific exercises one can improve physical fitness
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