Children who have Down syndrome will encounter unique challenges throughout their lives. With the help of pediatric occupational therapy, your child can gain the developmental skills they need for increased independence and success in school, relationships, and beyond. Keep reading to learn more about what Down syndrome is, how it can affect your child’s development, and what our compassionate occupational therapists can do to help your child build a brighter future.

What Is Down Syndrome?

In simple terms, Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. This means that instead of having 46 chromosomes (23 from their mother and 23 from their father), children with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes. This extra chromosome changes the way their bodies develop, which is why children who have Down syndrome tend to have distinctive facial features, low muscle tone, and other common developmental struggles.

Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder in Hypersensitive Children

The most common signs of SPD for children who are overly sensitive include:

  • Distinctive physical features like upward-slanting eyes, a short neck, and a flat nose bridge
  • Low muscle tone that can affect motor skills
  • Delayed speech and language development
  • Challenges in cognitive and social development
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Behavioral struggles like stubbornness

How Occupational Therapy Treats Down Syndrome

Our pediatric occupational therapists use proven, play-based therapy techniques to help children with Down syndrome gain their developmental skills. Through engaging activities, simple exercises, and lots of encouragement, we empower your child to achieve more independence, social and academic success, and the ability to participate in daily tasks. Your child will likely work with a team of pediatric therapists including a physical therapist and a speech-language pathologist to ensure they achieve all of their developmental milestones for greater success in life.

Hippotherapy for Down Syndrome

As part of our play-based and holistic therapy approach, our occupational therapists may recommend hippotherapy to enhance developmental skills. This is a fun therapy technique that involves riding and caring for horses. This provides children with sensory experiences that contribute to their physical and emotional growth. Riding and brushing horses is not only therapeutic, but it’s also a great reward that motivates children to gain their developmental skills so they can enjoy this activity with their therapist.

Early Intervention is Vital for Developmental Delays

When it comes to your child’s development, early intervention is key. The longer it takes them to learn the basics, the harder it will be for them to master the more challenging skills they’ll need for success in school and beyond. Early intervention is vital for children with Down syndrome because it empowers them to be more independent and capable of handling daily tasks. The sooner you get your child support, the easier it will be for them to reach their milestones and succeed in all areas of their development.

Free Developmental Screening

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you can take advantage of our free online developmental screening. This tool is a convenient way for parents to know with certainty if your child is achieving their developmental milestones or if they need extra support to achieve their brightest future.

Take our free developmental screening

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