Preparing for a Child With Down Syndrome

Finding out that your baby has Down Syndrome is a very stressful event for any parent. However,  researching how you can best prepare  for your child and getting a basic idea of what to expect is usually a very good idea for multiple reasons.  To begin with  , by taking a proactive stance and acting on the problem instead of just reacting to it, you relieve a lot of your own internal stress .  We always feel better when there’s something we can do instead of feeling helpless in the face of medical problems. In addition, by doing that preparation research and work you avoid a lot of stress before it has a chance to show up in the form of unexpected complications.

 The most immediate thing you need to plan is getting  heart imaging done to see if your child’s heart is healthy. About half of all children born with Down Syndrome have serious heart problems at birth that require immediate surgical intervention, so this sort of testing is absolutely vital . Of course, that’s in addition to the blood, ear, eye, lung, and muscle tone checks.  One or more of these systems will be affected by Down Syndrome,  with the most common problem being poor muscle tone  . Poor muscle tone creates all sorts of problems, including problems with the sucking reflex. Get the testing done to tell you where the initial problems are so you can make effective plans to deal with those problems early .

Keeping on top of all vaccinations is an absolute must.  Children with Down Syndrome often have very delicate immune systems.  They need the vaccinations in order to have a fighting chance , but they usually can’t handle getting multiple vaccinations at once.  By getting all vaccinations on time and keeping them spread out,  that delicate immune system doesn’t get too overloaded  . Of course, the other side of the issue is to keep on top of infections by going to doctor promptly and not letting them get out of control.  Another thing to plan on is to  keep getting your child’s ears checked with every infection, as infections can cause hearing problems and concurrent speech problems that will interfere with cognitive function.

Another big thing to keep on top of is blood testing for metabolic disorders.  Kids with Down Syndrome  often develop serious thyroid imbalances and other metabolic problems.   Any metabolic disorder can soak up various nutrients  , which means that a child with Down Syndrome will occasionally need a lot more of a given nutrient than healthy children.  Blood nutrient testing is vital because the affected nutrient changes based on what problems are coming up . Feeding massive doses of all vitamins isn’t a good idea because vitamin overdose is either just plain wasteful or just as damaging as vitamin deficiencies. 

Every child with Down Syndrome presents with different symptoms and at different levels of severity. Exact predictions are impossible as to  what any given child will have to go through or exactly what to watch for. However, as you can see , there are broad guidelines that can help you get ready for the most likely scenarios. Some kids with Down Syndrome are pretty healthy, while others have serious health issues .  However, any and all health problems that your child might have will be improved with early intervention.  You can only ensure early intervention  when you’ve done your homework and have plans in place for monitoring. So, knowing what to expect really does have an immediate and immense effect on your child’s health.

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