March is a special month around the globe. With it being the third month of the year we celebrate all of the genetic conditions in the Trisomy family. The most famous of these conditions is Trisomy 21 (three copies of chromosome 21), you may know this condition by its more common title: Down Syndrome. There are two other genetic conditions that also have three chromosomes instead of two: Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome).
Down Syndrome is fairly familiar due to both its high incidence, 1 in almost 700 babies born in the US are born with Down Syndrome, and because the average lifespan for someone with Downs is 60 years. It is thought that 38% of people in the United States know someone with Down Syndrome. Unfortunately both Edwards Syndrome and Patau Syndrome diagnosis result in extremely short lifespans.
Kiddos with Down Syndrome are usually born with distinctive facial features, have difficulty meeting developmental milestones such as walking and talking, and often have cognitive or learning difficulties. They also have an increased risk of being born with a heart defect, having hearing loss or eye diseases, and having obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where someone stops breathing for a short period of time repeatedly while sleeping. If you think your child may be experiencing sleep apnea you should get an appointment with an ENT doctor (someone who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat) to have them checked out. This resource page may also provide some helpful information.
Despite the concerns that you may have if your child is diagnosed with Down Syndrome, many kiddos can live long, healthy lives. Cognitive delays are often mild to moderate and many people attend school and work, have relationships with others, and contribute to society with their talents and skills.
If your kiddo is diagnosed with down syndrome, is struggling to meet milestones, or if you have any other questions about how to support your kiddo’s growth and development reach out for an evaluation. Our therapists at Kid Physical have over 32 combined years experience offering specialized, holistic healthcare for children of all ages. Our top priority is providing support for both caregivers and children so that they can reach their highest potential.