Everything you want to know about Down syndrome

There is no cure for Down syndrome, but many physical, behavioral, and educational therapies and services are available in many communities to help children grow, learn, and function to their full potential. And the earlier the intervention, the better, says the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Therapies that may be helpful for children with Down syndrome include speech therapy, to improve the child’s communication skills; occupational therapy to improve motor skills; physical therapy to increase muscle strength and mobility; and behavioral therapy to help the child deal with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Children under age three are generally eligible to receive services through state-run, federally mandated programs; and from age three to 21, the public school system should provide educational programs. Many children with Down syndrome can function and learn in a general education classroom, while others need a smaller classroom where individual attention is provided.

Every child with Down syndrome is different. Everyone has different potential, but those with mild intellectual disabilities are generally able to read, hold some type of job, and do things like take public transportation on their own. Many are graduating from high school and some are taking college courses. Some are learning to drive and are able to live independently (via WebMD), while others will need more support and may live at home with their family, in a house or apartment where some services are provided, or in a group home with other people with disabilities.

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