Frequently Asked Questions
He will act like a baby. He will be 100% reliant on you for everything, just like all other babies are reliant on their parents. He will eat, sleep, and go through lots of diapers. He may have some medical problems and he may have low muscle tone, but will definitely be cute and adorable and will be the most beautiful baby ever born. You will also notice that your baby will look like he belongs in your family. He will look like his brothers and sisters although he will probably have some of the traits associated with Down syndrome, as well. Remember, your child's chromosomes come from his parents.
YES! Your baby will learn to do all the things that other children learn to do but it will take him a little longer and it will take a little more patience on your part. He will learn to walk, he will learn to dress himself, feed himself, use the toilet, hold conversations, make friends, develop a range of interests, read, and go to school.
Your new baby will be like every other baby although it may take him longer to reach certain developmental milestones. Developmental delays are common in children with Down syndrome although at a young age, the delays are usually a matter of a few months. With proper early intervention, these developmental delays can be minimized. Studies have suggested that some children with Down syndrome who are receiving early intervention may actually achieve developmental milestones sooner than some children without Down syndrome. For example, the average "typical" child will be able to complete a 3-piece jigsaw puzzle at around 22 months. Some children with Down syndrome achieve this goal as early as 20 months (although the average is 33 months). Early intervention through programs like the Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program, and a stimulating and loving environment will help your baby.
The National Down Syndrome Congress recommends the following evaluations to take place within the first six months of your baby’s life: Thyroid levels by a pediatrician, cardiology, ophthalmologist, audiologist, For more information on the recommended screenings your child should have at various ages, refer to www.ndsc.org for more detailed information on health guidelines.
At The Arc of Essex County’s Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program, you and your child will be working with a highly trained team of professionals who specialize in working with children who have Down syndrome. A team of Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapists work together to ensure that the comprehensive needs of your child are met.
A Physical Therapist will work on improving your baby's gross motor skills. The therapist will be concerned with muscle tone, reflexes, stability, and motor development.
An Occupational Therapist concentrates on fine motor skills. The occupational therapist will be concerned with your baby's ability to reach and hold objects. The Occupational Therapist will also be concerned with your baby's processing of information through vision, touch, hearing, and movement.
A Speech Therapist will concentrate on how your baby uses the muscles of the mouth and face to eat and to make sounds. The Speech Therapist can be a resource for problems dealing with feeding. As your baby grows, the Speech Therapist will help your baby make sounds and form words appropriately.
Mental Health Professionals include social workers, counselors, and others who can provide counseling and emotional support to your family. Many early intervention programs include parent support groups which give parents an opportunity to share information and seek advice from other parents.
If you choose to utilize the federal/state funded early intervention services, your child’s services will be driven by the development of an IFSP, an Individualized Family Service Plan Whatever services your child is to receive must be outlined in the IFSP.