Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder which cannot be cured. It is a disorder which starts when a baby is still in the womb. It is known to affect both physical and mental development of the child. The severity of delay can vary from mild to severe. Appropriate intervention programmes for disabilities and learning difficulties; physiotherapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy can minimise the impact of Down’s syndrome and help these children have a healthy, active and more independent life as an adult.
Down’s syndrome increases the risk of death during the first year of life as a result of complications of associated medical problems such as congenital heart diseases, respiratory tract infection. According to estimates about 15% of children with Down’s syndrome die in the first year as a result of complication that arises from congenital heart disease. The prognosis improves dramatically after infancy (first year of life). Early diagnosis and treatment of other medical problems in Down’s syndrome improves the prognosis and overall life span of people with Down’s syndrome.
Most children with Down’s syndrome have learning difficulties which can vary from mild to moderate. The average IQ (intelligence quotient) of people with Down’s syndrome can vary from 25 to 80, with an average score of 50. These children have memory problems, poor concentration and difficulty in solving problems. Impact of learning difficulties can be minimised by education, socialisation opportunities, and early intervention programmes (such as for speech, hearing, behaviour).
Most children with Down’s syndrome can be helped to graduate from high school with appropriate help unless their mental ability is severely affected. Vocational training can train them to work in many settings, such as stores, restaurants, and hotels.
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