Down syndrome, which is the result of a chromosomal disorder, is the most common genetic cause of developmental disabilities, occurring in one of every 800-1000 births. Individuals with Down syndrome have three number 21 chromosomes, instead of two, in some of the cells. This developmental disorder results in physical and cognitive challenges. When you see how one difference in a chromosome can make such a difference in how a person develops, you realize human development is truly complex and how miraculous it is that each aspect of development and neurology work correctly in many individuals!
Children with Down syndrome need early intervention to help them meet their potential. In Murphy, Down syndrome’s associated deficits can be treated at Speech and Occupational Therapy of North Texas. We provide speech therapy and occupational therapy for children with all types of challenges, from very mild to more significant disorders, including children with Down Syndrome.
Occupational therapists address deficits in motor skills that are common for children with Down syndrome. These challenges are typically related to structural, neuromotor or sensory differences. There is a broad range of possible deficits, but a child may have shortened bones, instable vertebrae in the neck, heart defects, low tone and muscle weakness, as well as other deficits. Children with Down syndrome may be over responsive or under responsive to sensory input. A sensory integration disorder can impact a child’s ability to learn and self manage behavior. Children with Down syndrome have difficulty processing information from the different sensory modalities, such as vision, touch, auditory, making it difficult to integrate and store information effectively. So addressing sensory deficits is important.
Speech Therapy is important for a child with Down syndrome since cognition and processing are impaired. A speech language pathologist would focus on strengthening receptive understanding of speech and expressive abilities, which can include articulation and functional use of verbal language. Sometimes, children with Down syndrome are good candidates for augmentative communication, if intelligibility is significantly impaired. Technology has been helpful with many cognitive and communication challenges, since children seem to be drawn to Tablet devices, which afford many interesting applications and also provide more independence for children with motor challenges. A speech language pathologist can also help with drooling, feeding and swallowing challenges sometimes associated with Down syndrome.
Children with Down syndrome can make tremendous progress with treatment, education and a supportive family. There are amble ways that each individual can contribute to the community and have meaningful lives. Speech and Occupational Therapy of North Texas is happy to be a local treatment resource for children with Down syndrome in Murphy and the surrounding area. For more information as to how we can help your child, please contact us at 972-424-0148 and visit our website at www.speechandot.com.