Understanding A Down Syndrome Diagnosis

The long-term effects for children with Down syndrome rely very much on their ability to overcome the physical and mental challenges presented by the condition, and how quickly they access early intervention services. CATHRINE VERSFELD digs a little deeper to understand the diagnosis.

Peter Crosta explains that Down syndrome (DS) is a condition that occurs in the womb at conception. (Medical News Today, 2014). It is the result of an extra chromosome (chromosome 21), and so DS is also called Trisomy 21. This extra copy means that children with DS have 47 chromosomes in every cell of their bodies instead of 46. According to Crosta, there is no clear rule of how this may affect a baby’s development, but the known congenital differences in the body will impede physical and mental development to some extent.

Physiological problems may include heart, eye, ear, muscle-tone and thyroid impairments. On the developmental side, many children with DS may take longer to master speech and gross motor skills...

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