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Down's syndrome

Definition


Down's syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 in the body's cells. Down's syndrome is not a hereditary condition. It occurs by chance at conception. As yet the cause for the presence of an extra chromosome 21 is unknown.

Everyone with Down's syndrome will have some degree of learning disability but each individual's strengths, weaknesses and personality will vary hugely.

Individuals with Down's syndrome frequently have difficulties with their physical skills including their fine motor skills development and their overall tone. Congenital heart defects are often associated with Down's syndrome, but vary greatly in their complexity. Ear, Nose and Throat difficulties are also often present in individuals with Down's syndrome and there is high prevalence of hearing impairment at some level.

Notes


Around one in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have Down's syndrome.

Every individual with Down's syndrome is very different and it is important when working with an adult or child, to not assume their level of need purely based on their diagnosis.

Concerns reported by professionals working with individuals with Down's syndrome include: language delays, differences in emotional response and development, self-talk, lack of flexibility, concrete thinking, difficulties understanding time, good social skills masking other needs, slower processing speed, memory strengths and weaknesses.

How we can help


Our Speech and Language Therapists are able to work with clients to support their communication, language, social and feeding skills. We are able to create tailored therapy packages to suit each individual and their current level of need following an in depth assessment.

We often work jointly with Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Dieticians to support people with complex needs such as those with Down's syndrome and associated difficulties.

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