Down Syndrome

Down syndrome or Trisomy 21 is a genetic condition that approximately affects 1 in 1000 births worldwide. It is one of most common chromosomal disorders. While children with this condition grow and lead fulfilling lives, most children in this population often face developmental challenges that require the help of specialised care and intervention.

Down syndrome is characterised by presence of an extra copy of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21). This presents with a range of delays in physical and intellectual development. Common physical attributes in children with down syndrome include, low muscle tone (hypotonia), increased mobility in joints and delayed gross motor development. Without adequate holistic intervention, this could significantly impact the children’s ability to participate in daily life and thrive.

How can Paediatric Physiotherapists can help? 

Paediatric physiotherapists help children with Down syndrome by addressing their individualised challenges supporting their gross motor milestones and provide support to families by integrating a holistic approach to care. Paediatric physiotherapy focuses on the following:
  • Early intervention: Paediatric physiotherapists are able to intervene and help with children with Down syndrome from infancy. By intervening early as early as possible, it helps to optimise the child’s ability to move explore and learn. 

Klint kids therapists use a key worker model to support all aspects of development starting with gross motor skills but able to advise on play, fine motor and language development in the first year. 

  • Assessment/Goal setting/Family involvement: Treatment plans for each individual will be different as each child is unique. Tailoring goals and treatment to the child’s strengths and interests is vital. This is done through liaison with the parent to ensure a family centred approach is provided.
  • Improving muscle tone (hypotonia): As hypotonia is a common among infants with Down syndrome, physiotherapy aims to strengthen muscles and overall improve muscle tone. This will help to provide infants with postural control and balance. For infants struggling with head control at birth the sooner you access physiotherapy the less likely large gaps in development occur.
  • Providing independence: The goal of physiotherapy for children with Down syndrome is to empower to maximise their potential and be as independence as possible. Through providing guidance to help children reach their gross motor milestones, it allows for them to develop strategies to tackle acts of daily living that may have been difficult for them, if they had not had good intervention.

In our Glen Waverley and Narre Warren clinics we have specialist support on hand to support development of your child. You can access speech and OT consultations which can be delivered through you key worker. We also have a music therapist and psychologist who deliver services at our practice.

Klint kids physiotherapists are supporting South East Melbourne families with holistic care to children with Down syndrome.

If you need any help navigating your treatment Klint Kids would be happy to support you.