- Almond shaped eyes
- Light spots in the colored portion of the eyes
- A crease across the palm
- Small, low set ears and nose
- Low muscle tone
People with Down syndrome have extra genetic material associated with the 21st chromosome; how this genetic material will effect them us unique to them. There is no way of knowing how healthy your child will be, or how he or she will develop socially or intellectually, just as with all children!
Down syndrome itself does not require either treatment or prevention. However, the extra genetic material in your baby’s cells can affect their health so it is important that your baby is receiving good medical care. Your baby will be weighed to ensure that they are gaining adequate weight as often as babies with Down syndrome are smaller.
Heart problems are common, including congenital heart disease ( a heart problem present at birth). Every newborn with Down syndrome should have an EKG and ECHO cardiogram before the age of four months. Many heart defects can be reversed with surgery. Your baby will be checked for any stomach or bowel problems. Most problems usually occur after birth and can be corrected surgically. Your physician will also check your baby’s thyroid function, vision and hearing.
It is recommended that within the first three to six months of your baby’s life that he or she is enrolled in an infant stimulation program to help your baby’s development. A developmental evaluation is recommended at one year- occupational, feeding and speech therapy can determine your baby’s area of strengths and needs.
Continued speech and motor therapy assessments are beneficial to monitor your child’s development. A complete education assessment is recommended every three years, especially before your child enters school. Community supports like respite and counseling are available if beneficial to your family.
Your child with Down syndrome will grow and develop much like other children without Down syndrome. During this time period, there are some health concerns to be aware of.
An annual check-up with your physician is important. Review with your doctor any infections, ear problems, constipation, eye problems, or snoring (possible sleep apnea). Discuss with your doctor any possibilities of congenital heart disease, hypothyroidism, low caloric intake, etc.