Has your child recently been diagnosed with Down syndrome? If so, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. For instance, many parents of children with Down syndrome wonder what quality of life their child will have. Others blame themselves for their child’s diagnosis. The first thing to know about having a child with Down syndrome is that you’re not alone. Approximately 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born every year. The second thing to know is the importance of early intervention. That’s where we come in. At Voz Speech Therapy, our speech therapy for impairments and disabilities programs can help your child flourish. But first, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Down syndrome. What Is Down Syndrome? Down syndrome is a common genetic disorder where a child is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. In typically developing fetuses, a copy of chromosome 21 received from each of the parents. Children with Down syndrome receive a third copy. Down syndrome may be categorized into three subtypes: trisomy 21, translocation Down syndrome, and mosaicism. Trisomy 21 is the most common type of Down syndrome and causes an extra copy of chromosome 21 to be present in all the body’s cells. Translocation Down syndrome is much rarer and causes the extra copy of chromosome 21 to attach to another chromosome. Finally, mosaicism is the rarest form and causes an extra copy of chromosome 21 to be present in some, but not all, of the body’s cells. RELATED: What Is Down Syndrome And How Can Speech Therapy Help? What Causes Down Syndrome? The exact cause of Down syndrome remains unknown. However, research has indicated some risk factors. Getting pregnant over the age of 35 might increase your risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. Similarly, already having a child with Down syndrome can increase your risk of giving birth to another. Additionally, your chances of having a child with Down syndrome significantly increase if you or your partner is a carrier of the genetic translocation for Down syndrome. Down syndrome has no correlation with race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or anything done during pregnancy. How Common Is Down Syndrome? Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal disorder worldwide and the leading cause of intellectual and developmental delay in children. However, figuring out its exact prevalence can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Until relatively recently, it wasn’t uncommon for a Down syndrome pregnancy to be terminated. With the increase in modern medicine and community supports, this practice is becoming less common. On the other hand, people with Down syndrome are living longer lives than ever before. For these reasons, the population of people living with Down syndrome is expected to continue to rise. Currently, researchers approximate that Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 692 live births in the United States. Does Being Pregnant With A Down Syndrome Baby Pose Any Risks? In most instances, prenatal care for Down syndrome babies is the same as typically developing pregnancies. However, being pregnant with a Down syndrome baby may increase your risks of experiencing a miscarriage or stillborn. Why Do Kids With Down Syndrome Have Similar Facial Features? A common myth about Down syndrome is that all children with Down syndrome share the same facial features. This myth stems from the common facial features one often sees in kids with Down syndrome, such as round faces, almond shaped and upward slanting eyes, and low muscle tone. However, this certainly isn’t always the case. These characteristics aren’t a requirement for diagnosis. Additionally, children with Down syndrome typically look more like their immediate family members than each other. What Are Some Complications For Kids With Down Syndrome? Thanks to modern medicine and reduced stigma, people with Down syndrome are living longer, more fulfilled lives than ever before. Most people with Down syndrome function in the mild to moderate range of cognitive impairment and are often able to live and work independently. Some are even choosing to get married and have children. However, having Down syndrome can increase your risk of a variety of health complications, including: \tCongenital heart defects \tSleep apnea \tFrequent ear infections \tHearing loss \tAlzheimer’s disease \tDevelopmental delays \tCeliac disease \tAutism spectrum disorder \tChildhood leukemia \tSeizures RELATED: How Does Hearing Impairment Affect Development For Children? Since most of these complications can be treated, early identification and intervention can help increase chances of recovery. How Does Down Syndrome Affect Speech Development? Many children with Down syndrome struggle with their speech and language skills. For instance, many children with Down syndrome have trouble producing certain speech sounds or create speech that is difficult for others to understand. Additionally, they often experience delayed speech and language skills. They typically rely on their non verbal communication skills, such as facial features and body language, longer than typically developed peers. Without intervention, this may lead to impaired communication skills that can affect your child’s adult life. How Can Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome Help? A Washington DC speech therapist can help your child improve their speech and language skills. They can help children with Down syndrome improve, support, and develop their skills over time. Additionally, they can help with related eating, drinking, and swallowing difficulties. Your child’s speech therapist may use a range of techniques designed to maximize your child’s communication as much as possible across home, school, and social environments. Your child’s speech therapist will work with them to improve a variety of skills, such as: \tOral motor skills \tEating and drinking skills \tEmerging language skills \tSpeech sounds \tAlternative and augmentative communication, such as sign language and visual aids \tVocabulary skills Finally, they will work closely with you and your child’s caregivers to maximize therapy progress and raise your child’s chances of success. Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today When part of an early intervention program, speech therapy can do wonders for speech language skills in children with Down syndrome. So, what are you waiting for? Call us today to find out how we can work for you and your child. Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to begin your child’s speech journey.