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Care for Children with Down Syndrome

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The syndrome is a congenital condition where the individual is born with certain limitations and differences from an average person, compromising their development throughout their lives because their performance always contrasted with the average intellectual, physical performance, and capacity.

However, even though the alteration that produces it is present since its fertilization, there are critical cares and guidelines to consider if the child with this syndrome can adapt and live better and longer. In this FastlyHealarticle, we point out the primary consideration for children with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome care: during pregnancy

This condition, also called trisomy of chromosomal pair 21, is genetic. When it becomes present from conception, all its cells begin to have and reproduce this alteration on chromosome 21, which is why it is a condition that can not be reversed or minimized.

If possible, provide the environment, nutrition, and love necessary to allow the full development of the fetus and future baby. Some of the characteristic conditions of this syndrome at a physiological level are heart disease and lower growth of synaptic connections (between neurons), which produces cognitive disabilities, among other signs.

Lower body, muscle (hypotonia), and genital growth are also present. For all these factors, the mother must take better care of her health, diet, and lifestyle, as she must seek that these factors favor the baby’s optimal development to the maximum.

diet high in fish and shellfish (Omega 3 EPA and DHA) allows for better fetal development, especially neurological development. The physical activity constant in the mother (and specialized to a particular stage of pregnancy exercises) allows a better supply of nutrients and reduced stress levels in both.

The gluten, however, prevents the absorption of B12 and nutrients needed for proper development, and this syndrome is more common than celiac disease and could impact even before birth.

Newborn Down Syndrome Babies

Suction reflex

The differences of Down syndrome in terms of behaviors and interaction with the environment begin to appear from the first moment. We refer to how it intervenes in the sucking reflex necessary in every human to breastfeed.

Their ability to respond on the lips to the nipple stimulus may be less, so the mother should know the following:

  • If your baby does not suck, it is best to subtly bring the nipple to the child’s upper lip and finish bringing it closer once he opens his mouth. If he does not react, resort to stimulating this reflex with your finger.
  • The baby should be well supported and close to the nipple so that he needs the least force possible to suck (remember his muscular hypotonia).
  • They may need to be kept awake and active. This can be done by talking to them and brushing against their face and skin.
  • This process of learning how to position the nipple properly can be difficult and tedious at first, so it takes patience and detail.

Breathing and feeding

Children with this pathology may have specific breathing difficulties due to the shape of their noses, so it is imperative to check that they are breathing correctly while breastfeeding. At the same time, they sleep ( take care of sleeping position ) and ensure that they are always given food (other than from the nipple), the child is in a sitting position.

It is recommended that parents have saline or unique solutions for nasal decongestion or reduce, for example, the feeding of dairy products from other animals that tend to help increase sinonasal mucus.

In some cases of Down syndrome, there may be duodenal stenosis (narrowing of the enteric valve), so it is crucial to remove the gases from the child and avoid placing them in inappropriate postures that facilitate reflux.

Special Attention to Down Syndromes: Muscle Development

Tongue control

The tongue of the child with Down syndrome is also born with weakness. Therefore it must be strengthened through specialized exercises that maintain it and develop a greater capacity for control in it so that they can speak in the future. These exercises also focus on jaw and neck control.

Massages, games, laughter, finger suction stimulation, among others, can be included.

Teaching him to walk

Another disadvantage of this condition is that children will take longer to learn to walk, or rather, the age at which their muscles will be ready to support weight and work will be later. You must be patient and stay with him for a longer time.

It is also recommended that the child climb stairs and make movements that encourage him to squat down and climb back up (for example, picking up toys) to strengthen the legs better.

Early care for Down syndromes: learning

These boys have learning facilities that you have to know how to take advantage of so that the reading and writing teaching process is productive. The evidence is shared that Down syndrome learns better through drawings and visual stimulation, first associating the sound of the word with the figure and gradually bridging its written form.

Starting the other way around (accentuating the reading and not the association of images) is counterproductive. It is also essential to ensure that you communicate with sufficient force in your tone of voice, as some are born with audiological disabilities.

Caring for Children with Down Syndrome: Organ and Gland Health

Let us remember that this condition usually presents congenital heart disease, so monitoring of the heart organ must be maintained from a young age to know its prognosis and maintain supervision even after reaching adulthood.

Other organs, systems, and glands to monitor in Down syndrome individuals are:

  • Thyroid
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Immune system
  • Small intestine (possibility of symptomatic or asymptomatic celiac disease)
  • Large intestine
  • Digestive tract due to possible duodenal or esophageal stenosis

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Care for children with Down Syndrome, we recommend that you enter our category of Genetic disorders.

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