Children With Down Syndrome
Children who are born with Down syndrome may deal with medical issues, such as leukemia, transient myelodysplasia, and infections. Parents of other children with this condition are often valuable sources of information and support, especially when it comes to issues surrounding school. Children with Down syndrome have a wide range of abilities and talents, and each child develops at his or her own particular pace.
For children with Down syndrome and their parents, there are a number of medical and educational issues to be aware of during childhood.
Medical care for children with Down syndrome should include the same well-baby care that other children receive during the first years of life, as well as attention to some problems that are more common in children with Down syndrome. If heart, digestive, orthopedic, or other medical conditions were identified during the neonatal period, these problems should continue to be monitored.
During the early years of life, children with Down syndrome are 10 to 15 times more likely than other children to develop leukemia, a potentially fatal disease. These children should receive an appropriate cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy.
Babies with Down syndrome are also more susceptible to transient myelodysplasia, or the defective development of the spinal cord.
Compared to the general population, children with Down syndrome have a twelvefold higher mortality rate from infectious diseases, if these infections are left untreated and unmonitored. These infections are due to abnormalities in their immune systems, usually the T cell and antibody-mediated immunity functions that fight off infections. With Down syndrome, children are also more likely to develop:
- Chronic respiratory infections
- Middle ear infections
- Recurrent tonsillitis.
In addition, there is a 62-fold higher incidence of pneumonia in children with Down syndrome than in the general population.