Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Early intervention for infants and children with Down syndrome can make a difference in realizing their potential abilities and in their quality of life.

Early intervention programs

Ask your doctor about early intervention programs in your area. These specialized programs — in which children with Down syndrome are stimulated at an early age with appropriate sensory, motor and cognitive activities — are available in most states.

Programs vary from location to location, but they usually involve therapists and special educators whose goal is to help your baby develop motor skills, language, social skills and self-help skills.

Team care

If your child has Down syndrome, you'll likely rely on a team of specialists that, depending on your child's particular needs, will provide your child's medical care and help him or her develop skills as fully as possible. In addition to your primary care pediatrician, your team may include:

  • A pediatric cardiologist
  • A pediatric gastroenterologist
  • A pediatric endocrinologist
  • A developmental pediatrician
  • An audiologist
  • A physical therapist
  • A speech pathologist
  • An occupational therapist
  • A pediatric neurologist

What to expect

In general, children with Down syndrome usually meet developmental milestones, but it may take them longer than it does a child without Down syndrome. For example, children with Down syndrome may take twice as long to sit, crawl, walk or talk. However, early intervention programs, started as soon as possible, may give children with Down syndrome the best chance of success.

Apr. 07, 2011