Down's Syndrome is a condition that someone is born with which causes learning disabilities, this is the result of having an extra 'number 21' chromosome. It can come from either the mother or the father and there is no way to predict it. Down's Syndrome is the most common cause of developmental disability.
Someone with Down's Syndrome, aside from several physical traits, may have a slower rate of learning new skills so that they meet their 'developmental milestones' such as walking or talking later.
If you have just been told your child has Down’s Syndrome make sure you get support from your midwife and health visitor. They will be able to offer you emotional support and advice on practical ways of coping with difficulties such as feeding problems.
As your child grows up, meetings with your health visitor should continue and can really help to look after the health of the family as a whole. A speech therapist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist may well have important roles too, both from a very young age and later during the child's schooling.
You should make sure you check what benefits you might be able to claim, for example Disability Living Allowance for children.
You may also want to meet other families who have a child with Down's Syndrome. Contact your local branch of the Down’s Syndrome Association for local support. Your local carer service may also be able to help.
For more information about caring for someone with Down’s Syndrome visit:
- The Down’s Syndrome Association
- Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation
- Down’s Syndrome Scotland
- The National Association for Down’s Syndrome (US)
- Down's Heart Group - support and information about heart conditions associated with Down's Syndrome.
Next review due: June 2017