Down Syndrome

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What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. It is the most common genetic disorder, affecting 1 out of 691 babies. The additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics often associated with Down syndrome.

What are the signs?

A child with Down syndrome typically has certain characteristics such as flat facial features, small head and ears, short neck, poor muscle tone, bulging tongue and eyes that slant upward.  Infants can be born a normal size, but development will be twice as slow as an unaffected child. Children will have mental and social development delays, which means they will have impulse behavior issues, poor judgment, short attention span and slow learning capabilities.

What treatment options are available?

There are many treatment options for a child with Down syndrome; however, there is no cure for this condition. Treatments and therapies can help individuals live long healthy lives. Diagnosed individuals are at increased risk for certain medical problems including heart defects, thyroid, muscle, joint, vision and hearing problems. Less frequent problems include leukemia and seizures. Treatments strategies for these issues include medication, surgical, physical therapy, and speech therapy to name a few. In addition, some families turn to caregivers or respite care for additional help.

For more information on treatment options, visit Very Well.

Managing Down syndrome

According to the National Institutes of Health, “There is no single, standard treatment for Down syndrome. Treatments are based on everyone’s physical and intellectual needs, as well as his or her personal strengths and limitations. Adults can receive proper care while living at home and in the community while a child will likely receive care from a team of health professionals, including, but not limited to, physicians, special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and social workers.”

What services and resources are available?

UCP of Sacramento and Northern California (UCP) provides numerous programs and services for individuals with Down syndrome such as UCP’s Adult Day programCLASP program and Transportation services among others.

How can I learn more?

To learn more about Down syndrome, visit: