How Can Physical Therapy Help Children With Down Syndrome?

Children with Down Syndrome often experience mild to serious physical and intellectual disabilities. Fortunately, with the right assistance, these individuals can live a productive and happy life — doing things like attending school, participating in activities with peers and family, and having a career.

What Is Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder in which causes children to be born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. This condition affects 6,000 babies born in the United States each year. DS causes changes in the typical development of the brain and body, bringing intellectual and physical challenges which may include:

girl with down syndrome playing on the playground

  • Congenital heart disease (in 40 to 60% of those with DS)
  • Delayed motor development due to low muscle tone
  • Balance problems
  • Vision and hearing challenges
  • Obesity

Individualized physical therapy from preschool into adulthood can help those with Down Syndrome perform daily activities, improve mobility, and ultimately, live life to the fullest.

How PT Helps Those With Down Syndrome

The physical therapists at TLC Pediatric Therapies in Orlando, FL create individualized treatment plans based on each child’s needs. Early intervention is recommended, as it is the best case to improve outcomes. Your child’s physical therapy plan may include:

Balance Control And Coordination

Physical therapists often use pillows and an exercise ball to help improve your child’s ability to hold his head up and maintain a sitting position. Other balance control tasks, such as jumping and skipping, may be utilized as a fun form of exercise.

Developmental Skills

Certain motor skills like crawling, learning to stand from a sitting position, and walking are all important developmental skills. Physical therapists can assist parents and other caregivers to help with everyday tasks including feeding, playing, and suggesting changes to the home environment.

Building Strength

Providing exercises to improve muscle strength is an essential part of physical therapy. As children grow, the games and tasks will change to accommodate their age. This is especially important to reduce the risk of obesity and to improve and maintain heart health.

Physical Fitness Training

The physical therapist will consider all the exercises and diet requirements your child needs to participate in activities with siblings and peers as they grow. Physical therapy can be done in a variety of environments including a home setting, a local community center, or an outpatient clinic. As with the many specific goals set for your child, physical therapists at TLC Pediatric Therapies work with your child’s health care professionals to help them attain their best lives.

Contact TLC Pediatric Therapies at (407) 905-9300 to schedule a consultation to learn more about a personalized physical therapy program for your child with Down Syndrome.

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