Down syndrome or trisomy 21 is a chromosomal condition that results when the child is born with all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. The only way to prevent Down syndrome is to do a screening during the pregnancy and to identify the presence of the disease in fetus. This is a serious condition that may have severe effects. However, the exact manifestation of the disease varies greatly among people. Mostly, Down syndrome includes impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, particular set of facial characteristics and predisposition for certain physical health disorders such as congenital heart defects, gastro esophageal reflux disease, recurrent ear infections, obstructive sleep apnea, and thyroid dysfunctions. Children with Down syndrome develop at slower rate than other kids. Here is a quick overview of some of the most important developmental milestones, which may be helpful to give the reader some idea about the expected rates of development for children with Down syndrome.
Gross motor skills
Children with Down syndrome will acquire their most important gross motor skills at the age of five months. This is when a child learns to balance the head and holds it steady and learns to roll from side to back. At six months, a child will learn to roll from stomach to back, to support body on arms and to reach one arm forward when lying on stomach. At seven months a child learns how to sit with support and learns hand to foot play. At eight months the child moves around own axis while sitting on floor and sits while supported by own arms. The child learns to crawl at 14th month and pulls to stand using furniture at 15th month. Only when it is 16 months old it walks with support and may not learn to walk alone before it is 23 months old. This means that children with Down syndrome have about 12 months of developmental delay in walking.
Personal social / self help
Children with Down syndrome will need some extra time to learn how to communicate with others and to acquire some elementary skills. For example, these children will have about 5 months of developmental delay before they learn how to feed themselves with biscuit. This usually happens at 5th month but children with Down syndrome may not acquire this skill until they are 10 months old. Kids with Down syndrome learn to control bowel and urine during the day at the age of three. Normally, child should acquire this skill at the age of two. It will take another year or two before a child with Down’s learns how to use the toilet or potty without assistance.
Children with Down syndrome will learn to babble first words (such as da-da or ma-ma) at 11th month of living. For typically developing children it takes no more than 8 months for a child to do so. However, these kids won’t articulate their first words before they are 18 months old. It may take a couple of years before they learn how to use words spontaneously and how to communicate. On average, this developmental milestone is reached between the ages of 1.5 to 6 years.