Intervention Programs

There is no standard treatment or cure for Down syndrome with treatments based on the individual’s physical and intellectual needs as well as their capabilities and limitations. Early intervention procedures can improve lives and the future of children with Down syndrome. These programs can begin shortly after birth and continue until the age of 3. After this age, most children will continue to be involved in intervention therapies and receive assistance from their school. A variety of therapies can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a person’s life to help aid development, productivity and independence. The professionals involved in Down syndrome include intervention special educators, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and social workers.

There are a variety of therapies which can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a person’s life to help aid development, productivity and independence.

Physical therapy involves activities and exercises that help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance. Physical therapy is very important in early childhood as it helps them learn and interact with their surroundings, establishing a foundation for other skills. It will also help a child deal with physical challenges to help them in the future and long-term.
These include teaching the child to walk in an efficient pattern to minimise foot injury or pain and also back strengthening exercises.

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Speech-language therapy can help children with Down syndrome improve their communication skills and the ability to use language effectively since they often learn to speak later than other children. It helps the children develop early communication skills such as imitating sounds or using pictures. Learning to communicate and communication skills is a learning process in life and will not only benefit the children from an early age but also during school or later in life. The therapist will help the child with speaking skills, pronunciation, comprehension as well as reading and remembering words.

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Occupational therapy is relevant to people with Down syndrome of all ages, and helps them adjust to everyday tasks and duties, addressing their needs within their abilities. It teaches self-care skills including eating, writing or getting dressed. In high school years an occupational therapist may aid with career and job searching, relative to the person’s abilities and interests.

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Emotional and behavioral therapies aim to understand why a child may be acting out in desirable or undesirable behaviours. The therapists will help identify strategies and ways to avoid and prevent undesirable behaviours as well as teaching positive ways to respond to situation. Psychologists and counselors can help children deal with emotions, especially during puberty and teach coping and management skills. These techniques will allow the child reach their full potential in everyday life.

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