What is Down Syndrome?

  • Altered number of chromosomes (contain genetic material) number ’21’
  • It can be fully / partial extra copy and the most common would be triple copy which is called as ‘Trisomy 21’

Problems Faced by Them

  • Reduced muscle tone
  • Lower bone density
  • Difficulty in learning
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problem
  • Obese
  • Hearing or Vision loss
  • Dementia / Alzheimer’s disease

How Physiotherapist Helps

When you bring your child to consult a physiotherapist, motor skills are always the first things we look at.

In short, Down Syndrome’s child tends to experience slower developmental milestones due to hypotonia, ligamentous laxity, poor balance, and lack of postural control that cause difficulties in adapting to gravity and the surrounding environment.

Developmental Milestone

DS (month)Healthy (month)
Head control6.1 ± 2.63.0
Turning8.8 ± 3.15.0
Sitting alone11.9 ± 3.36.0
Creeping13.9 ± 3.58.0
Crawling18.1 ± 5.08.5
Cruising22.3 ± 7.29.2
Independent walking28.0 ± 8.312.1

Physiotherapist help Down Syndrome’s child to achieve each milestones through a lot of stimulation and facilitation technique which will helps them to be familiarise with the movement.

Also, Down Syndrome’s child tend to learn through sensory input which we called them sensory-seeking behaviour. Therefore, physiotherapists tend to use a lot of desensitisation technique so that the child can learn through tactile cues.

We also do wide range of exercise therapy which includes weight bearing exercises to improve their muscle strength and joint sense.

Play therapy are part of our intervention too.

Article by Kwa Hsiang Yee

Physiotherapist from Your Physio

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