Although there is no permanent or real cure to Down syndrome, you can certainly find ways to alleviate the various symptoms. Several individuals have successfully coped with the effects of the problem by simply living healthier lifestyles and finding the right alternatives. You do not need to shell out much and can continue to live fairly normal lives.
Physical therapy is an effective way to treat Down syndrome among children, especially for symptoms that arise later in life. At this time, basic skills have already been practised so there are many levels of severity in the symptoms. Consulting a physical therapist early on can help determine if the person can start a physical therapy program. The program can help individuals cope by learning how to do basic moves and actions like sitting, walking and standing. Children with Down syndrome actually walk and do things later compared to other kids. Special practice is required for kids to learn how to jump, climb, sit and roll over.
The Role of the Physical Therapist
The physical therapist can design programs that will help children specifically address problems like sitting up, holding the head up straight and rolling over. The problems may show that the patient has a weak upper spine or need special treatment like surgery or the like to help support the neck muscles. Physical therapy offers advantages such as improving strength, flexibility and endurance.
Refining skills are also needed by Down syndrome kids, so a physical therapist can still help patients learn how to stand properly, sit properly, correct posture and walk well. Some of the other associated problems to be fixed include back pain, knee problems and twisted legs. Habits, stances and techniques can be relearned too.
Things to Address
Newborns have concerns to be addressed and treated such as provision of adequate emotional support and knowing more information regarding the syndrome. Infants have to be protected against infections and colds. Therapies, without the inclusion of drugs, should be considered for safety. During early childhood, there are developmental milestones that need to be reached. Although it is expected for patients not to attain these, some supportive measures like diet and exercise, prevention of common sicknesses, improvement in behavior and development of social skills can greatly help.
During the middle and late childhood stages, parents should help kids gain more independence, develop social skills, as well as enhance the ability to learn. Adolescent and young adult patients have to deal with the smooth transition into adulthood. Planning is essential, so that the child can deal with the different challenges that come with age. Sexuality and relationship issues also need to be addressed.
Other Things to Treat
The patient needs to see a registered dietitian to prescribe the right meal plans and other nutritional strategies that will effectively treat weight problems. Make sure the Down syndrome patient gets enough exercise and recognizes the importance of physical activity. Depression also needs to be treated as soon as noticed.
A licensed therapist and guidance counselor can help develop programs and other strategies such as talk therapy and occupational therapy that will help the patient express and provide outlets for internal issues. Management techniques will also be taught. As a last resort, medications may also be prescribed to help control mental symptoms and aid patients recover faster.