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Children with Down syndrome

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Children with Down syndrome also have a higher than average incidence of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Children with Down syndrome can often benefit from speech therapy, occupational therapy, and exercises for gross and fine motor skills. They might also be helped by special education and attention at school. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom . Children may also have delayed mental and social development. Children with Down syndrome have dry skin in early childhood. By age 15 years, more than 70% show generalized xerosis of a mild-to-moderate degree. Children with Down syndrome have some unique challenges in the educational environment, especially if they have vision and hearing loss. It is important that parents and educators work together to get accurate information about hearing and vision function. Children with abnormal hearing evaluations should be seen by an ear-nose-throat physician (otolaryngologist) to manage treatable causes of hearing loss. Children with Down have an increased risk of heart defects, breathing problems and childhood leukemia. The survival odds have increased today with newer treatments giving longevity a jump to the age of 56. Children with Down Syndrome are also at high risk for chronic ear infections. Children with Down syndrome are at increased risk of developing thyroid problems and, occasionally, leukemia. They also tend to have many colds, as well as bronchitis and pneumonia. Children with Down syndrome have poor Eustachian tube function leading to chronic middle ear fluid and hearing loss. The Eustachian tube is designed to ventilate the middle ear; in the majority of children with Down syndrome, it must be bypassed via the use of small tympanostomy tubes (pressure equalizing or PE tubes) which straddle the eardrum and allow air to pass into the middle ear. Children with DS are educated in many different ways. Some are included in the typical classroom with typical peers, sometimes with the help of a personal aid. Parents and caregivers should learn to help a person with Down syndrome deal with frustration. At the same time, it is important to encourage independence. Parents react differently when first told their baby has Down syndrome. It is normal to feel shocked, angry or disappointed. Testing for neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, also can be performed. There is a small risk of miscarriage as a result of amniocentesis about 1 in 100 or less. Tests (such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling ) can be done before birth to find out if a baby has Down syndrome. Tissue and fluid in the womb around the baby can be checked for the extra chromosome.
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