Down Syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by one too many copies of chromosome 21. This extra copy changes the typical way the brain and body develop. As a result, individuals with Down Syndrome can face both physical and mental challenges from birth onward, such as delayed developmental milestones. Other possible challenges include:
- Low Muscle Tone
- Decreased Strength
- Poor Balance and Coordination
- Vision and Hearing problems
- Difficulty Learning Complex Tasks
- Poor Cardiovascular Health
Fortunately, Physical Therapy has proven to be an extraordinary tool for children with Down Syndrome that can address mental and physical challenges in tandem throughout childhood. Starting very early in a child’s development, physical therapists can create a plan to help children with DS reach developmental milestones. Importantly, physical therapists can also recognize and prevent inappropriate compensation patterns that could hinder a child’s future development.
Physical therapists use games and fun activities to help improve muscle strength, motor control, balance, coordination, and overall fitness. Working on seemingly physical aspects of DS aids in critical mental tasks such as learning to talk, and much more! In collaboration with parents, physical therapists can help combat issues such as obesity by planning exercise and community activities that are tailored to each individual child’s needs and interests.
In short, physical therapy is an amazing resource that can enable children with Down Syndrome to lead their best life!