Down syndrome is an incurable condition. However, there are many types of treatment and therapy that do exist with regard to helping those with Down syndrome. These treatments often deal with the cognitive, medical and physical complications that are associated with the condition.Related problems
Those with Down syndrome can be vulnerable to problems related to hearing, vision, joints and muscles, thyroid and the heart. Medication is one way to deal with these problems. Specific medications can be used to combat specific problems. Of course, these medications are there to help relieve problems related to Down syndrome, not the condition itself. No medicine exists that can cure the condition.
There are many specialised professionals who can assist in the treatment of Down syndrome. Cardiologists, for example, can help deal with heart problems. Pediatric endocrinologists can help children with thyroid problems. As for hearing or visual difficulties, the problems experienced by those with Down syndrome can be effectively treated by any audiologist or ophthalmologist.
In about 40% of cases, children with Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. These defects can often be mild, but severe cases might also require surgery. Intestinal defects common to Down syndrome sufferers might also lead to eventual surgery.
As people with Down syndrome grow older, they might be faced with conditions such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment and management of these conditions is the same as in those without Down syndrome.
Therapy and management
Early intervention programs are often used to help those with Down syndrome. At an early age, children are introduced to a program of therapy, exercise and specifically designed activities. These programs have the goal of enhancing the development of infants and toddlers as well as helping families cope with a Down syndrome child. Mainly, these programs involve speech and physical therapy.
Speech therapy can be very important with regard to the proper intellectual development of a Down syndrome child. Down syndrome children often have problems with articulation and speech, and in order to counter this, a speech therapist will work with the individual. The therapy will usually focus on learning to control facial muscles, or learning sign language.
Physical therapy aims to teach Down syndrome children how to correctly use their bodies. The therapy will also focus on muscular development and tone. This approach can help prevent problems related to low muscle tone.
It is also vital for those with Down syndrome to learn how to function independently. Many group homes or assisted living situations now exist in order to make the transition to independence successful. Occupational therapists can help in this regard.