Statistics from around the world show that 1 child in every 700–1,000 is born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a group of conditions referring to body organ abnormalities and mental disabilities. The cause of the condition is a faulty 21st chromosome. The age of the mother plays a crucial role, with 1 in every 250 children born to mothers over the age of 35 at risk of Down syndrome. The risk increases with the mother’s age, with 1 in 70 children born to mothers over the age of 40 at risk of having the condition. This is because the disease occurs as a result of a genetic irregularity.
Down syndrome affects each child differently, depending on the type of chromosomal abnormality they have inherited. There are usually distinguishing physical aspects present, such as a small skull, lack of a nose bridge, bulbous eyes, muscular hypotonia, hyper-flexible joints and tendons, shortened fingers and neck, and large tongue. Mentally, children with Down syndrome will fall behind other children of the same age, and may also suffer from ASD and ADHD. Furthermore, they are at greater risk of suffering physical disabilities, including hearing difficulties, a squint, congenital heart defects and hypothyroidism.
Children with Down syndrome are capable of developmental progress as long as their parents support and encourage them properly from early childhood. Infants born with Down syndrome should receive multidisciplinary care from birth, including screening for organ defects, close monitoring of their development, and tailored training, which should begin as soon as the condition is first detected. Monitoring and supporting the development of children with Down syndrome includes keeping an eye on their large and small muscle groups, cognition, speech, social and emotional behavior, and independence. Such training requires a multidisciplinary team consisting of doctors and other professionals, all of whom should advise parents and guardians on how best to support the child’s development.
Take the assistance of experts who specialize in providing care for infants with Down syndrome. Such a team should include the following specialists:
It is essential that the advice of these experts is strictly adhered to. It is also critical for medical staff to monitor treatment and assess development at every stage.
Modern advances in technology and communication have resulted in parents around the world having a greater understanding of Down syndrome, while screening for the condition can currently be carried out at an early stage of pregnancy.
Diploma of Thai Board of Pediatrics