There are a number of difficulties people with Down Syndrome encounter. All people with Down Syndrome will have some degree of intellectual disability. Children with Down Syndrome usually learn an progress more slowly than most children. However not all areas of development are equally affected.
Motor skills develop at a slower rate for children with Down Syndrome. It reduces the child’s opportunity to explore and learn about the world around them. Poor oral motor control may impact the development of language skills.
Children with Down Syndrome show delays in learning to use spoken language. They experience difficulty in mastering a sentence, grammar and difficulties in developing clear speech.
Most children with Down Syndrome struggle with basic number skills, their number skills are typically two years behind their reading skills. The ability of children with Down Syndrome to hold an process verbal information is not as good as their ability to hold and process visual information.
Up to three quarters of children with Down Syndrome have some hearing loss. Sometimes hearing loss is related to structural problems with the ear. Some problems with the hearing will be temporary whilst others can continue throughout life. It is for that reason that hearing tests should be done frequently.
Conductive hearing loss is the most common hearing loss associated with Down Syndrome. They tend to have narrow ear canals; this can lead up to a build up of wax and fluid in the inner ear. Loss of hearing due to this build up is treatable.
Sensory Neural hearing is a problem that occurs when there is a problem with the transmission of sound in the inner ear. There are hearing aid options to help this type of hearing loss, surgical treatments are also available.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensory neural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. Hearing is vital for mental development, speech, language and social skills.
More than half of children with Down Syndrome have vision problems, including cataracts that may be present at birth. Cataract is defined as a condition in which whole part of the eye lens has become cloudy. If a small portion of the lens is cloudy, it’s often possible for the child to see around. Cataracts of this small kind are common in children with Down Syndrome and generally don’t cause problems.
Weak Accommodation is a condition where the visual image transmitted to the brain is fuzzy. It causes problems focusing on things whether there long sighted, short sighted or don’t need glasses at all. The problem can persist even if the child is wearing glasses.
Other eye problems that may occur in Down Syndrome children are rapid eye movement, cross eyed, eye infections and watery eye. Glasses, surgery and other treatments may improve vision.
Heart Disease is a problem; about half of children with Down Syndrome have heart defects at birth. These defects may need early treatment to prevent heart failure.
Children with Down Syndrome are prone to respiratory infections and persistent fluid in the middle ear. Some children may also have an impaired immune system, which makes it hard for them to fight infection. Respiratory infection can lead to serious problems, especially in children with heart defects.
Gum disease is more common in children with Down Syndrome.
Skin conditions that affect teens with Down Syndrome include dry skin, acne, dermatitis and fungal infection of the skin and nails.
Thyroid problems (Hypothyroidism) are common in children with Down Syndrome. It’s caused by having to little thyroid hormone in the blood stream. It means the thyroid is underactive and is not producing enough thyroid hormone. It is generally maintained by the use of medication.
Constipation an intestinal blockages an Celiac disease develop because of poor muscle tone (Hypotonia)
Hypotonia is a symptom rather than a condition. It can be caused by a number of underlying problems, which can be either neurological or non-neurological. In Down Syndrome its non-neurological its genetic disorder present at birth which gives problems with mobility.
Children with Down Syndrome want to crawl, sit, walk, explore and interact with people around them. To do that they need to develop their motor skills. Due to certain physical characteristics which include hypotonia, Down Syndrome children don’t develop motor skills in the same way that of a typical developing child.
Children with Down Syndrome will find ways to compensate for the differences in their physical make an some of the compensations can lead to long-term complications, such as pain in the feet or an inefficient walking pattern