Down Syndrome (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Down syndrome cannot be prevented. There are many things you can do to help your child live a happy and healthy life. For more information, see Treatment Overview.
As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, you play an important role in helping your child reach his or her full potential. You and your child will have challenges and accomplishments.
Babies and young children
Your child will likely take more time than other children to reach certain milestones. But his or her achievements are just as significant and exciting to watch. Be patient, and encourage your young child as he or she learns.
Encourage your child to learn, socialize, and be physically active. For example, enroll your child in classes with other children of the same age. Think of ways you can stimulate your child's thinking skills without making tasks too difficult. But know that it is okay for your child to be challenged and sometimes fail.
Enroll your young child (infant through age 3) in an early-intervention program. These programs have staff who are trained to monitor and encourage your child's development. Talk with a doctor about programs in your area.
Keep encouraging your child to learn, socialize, and be physically active. Here are some tips:
Adolescents and teens
Socially, teens who have Down syndrome have the same needs as everyone else. Most will want to date, socialize, and form intimate relationships. You can help your child develop healthy relationships by teaching appropriate social skills and behavior. Peer acceptance and self-esteem are affected by how well your preteen or teen addresses these issues.
Here are some tips:
During your child's teen years, you may also want to start planning for your child's future jobs and living arrangements. Many people who have Down syndrome live independently as adults in group homes or apartments with support services. But most group homes and community centers require a basic level of self-sufficiency, such as being able to eat, dress, and bathe independently. Vocational training helps many young adults learn how to work in many settings, such as stores, restaurants, and hotels.
Most adults who have Down syndrome function well in society. They often have regular jobs, have friends and romantic relationships, and take part in community activities.
An adult with Down syndrome benefits from working outside the home and having social activities. Having an active lifestyle with continued learning makes anyone, including a person with Down syndrome, feel more vibrant and feel that his or her life is meaningful.
Adult day care may be an option. Or the Special Olympics and other activities that emphasize exercise might be options. Encourage an adult's interests, such as in art or in hobbies such as drawing.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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