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Understanding Down Syndrome

Dr A Hari Krishna, Consultant Children and Newborn Specialist at Renova Hospitals, adds, “Children with Down Syndrome may experience delays in motor skills and speech, requiring assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and grooming. Some may encounter respiratory issues due to narrow nasal passages, increasing susceptibility to respiratory infections. Upper airway obstruction can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue, stress, and behavioural disturbances. Sleep apnea may necessitate intervention such as the removal of tonsils and adenoids. While some individuals may require extensive medical attention, others lead relatively healthy lives.”

He highlights common health challenges in children with Down Syndrome, including recurrent infections, congenital heart defects, hearing impairment, vision problems, oral motor difficulties, hypotonia, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal issues, epilepsy, and childhood cancer.

Treatment involves comprehensive multidisciplinary care. “For children with Down Syndrome, a team of specialists is typically enlisted to provide medical care and facilitate skill development. Depending on the individual’s needs, this team may comprise professionals such as a primary care pediatrician, pediatric cardiologist, gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, developmental pediatrician, neurologist, ENT specialist, ophthalmologist, audiologist, speech pathologist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist,” notes Dr M Rajini.

Furthermore, Dr Rajini advises, “Parents must navigate important decisions concerning their child’s treatment and education. Establishing a trustworthy team of healthcare providers, educators, and therapists is essential. These professionals can assist in evaluating available resources and elucidating state and federal programs catering to individuals with disabilities.”

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