Shining a Light on Down Syndrome
Creative Health Solutions was founded on the idea that the challenges individuals face should never be thought of as “differences” rather than “disabilities”; that every human being has great potential; and it is our role to help those we treat improve, learn, grow, and lead a productive life.
Indeed, Richard Feingold’s experience with a child with Down Syndrome motivated him to co-found Creative. (You can read more about this in his blog post, Suzy’s Story.)
According to the CDC, Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. Each year, approximately 6,000 children (or one out of every 700 babies) are born with it. The risk increases when the mother is over 40. Concerned families have the options of genetic counseling, prenatal screenings, diagnostic tests including blood tests, sonograms, chorionic villus (CVS), and amniocentesis prior to birth. At the time of birth, a medical doctor can complete an observation of physical traits and a chromosome analysis to diagnose Down Syndrome.
While that diagnosis can create concern over an uncertain future, here at Creative Health Solutions we believe the more we are educated about the condition, the more the light of understanding drives out the shadows of doubt and fear.
The Three Types
Babies are typically born with 46 chromosomes, or packages of genes, in the body. They are responsible for determining how a baby forms and functions both in the womb and after birth. A baby with Down Syndrome has an extra copy of chromosome 21.
There are actually three types of Down Syndrome. Trisomy 21 (‘trisomy’ is a medical term for having an additional chromosome) is the most common, affecting about 95% of those with Down Syndrome. In this type, there are three copies of chromosome 21 rather than two. The others are Translocation (an extra chromosome 21 is attached to a different chromosome instead of being separate; affects about 3%) and Mosaic Down Syndrome (some cells may have two copies of chromosome 21 while others have three; affects about 2%).
These chromosomal anomalies change how the body and brain develop, causing cause mental and physical challenges that differ for each individual. People with Down Syndrome generally have an IQ in the mild-to-moderately low range that can impact their academic and social growth. Common physical features include a flattened face, short neck, oval-shaped eyes that can have white spots on the iris, a line across the palm (known as a palmar crease), small pinky fingers that can curve toward the thumb, and shorter height.
It’s important to note that some affected children may also have a major birth defect or other medical issue such as hearing loss, ear infection, eye disease, heart conditions or obstructive sleep apnea. If your child has Down Syndrome, your pediatrician should regularly check for these.
Teaching Life Skills
Creative Health Solutions is committed to the principle that while differences such as Down Syndrome and its associated challenges may increase the difficulty of a person achieving their full potential, they never preclude it. And although Down Syndrome is a lifelong condition, early intervention can help improve physical and intellectual capacity.
One of the most effective treatments is our speech-language pathology program. We customize a unique approach for each client through evaluation and individual treatment plans. This program can assess and improve developmental speech delay, emotional regulation, social skills training, oral motor weakness, feeding/swallowing issues and more.