Down Syndrome and How Physical Therapy Can Help!

Posted by Peter Harris

| Pediatrics

Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder in which children are born with an additional copy of chromosome 21, also known as Trisomy 21. This additional chromosome 21 changes the typical development of the brain and the body resulting in a variety of challenges, which could include:


o Low Muscle Tone
o Decreased Strength
o Poor Balance and Coordination
o Vision and Hearing problems
o Difficulty Learning Complex Tasks
o Obesity
o Poor Cardiovascular Health
o Delayed Developmental Milestones

How can physical therapy help your child?

Improve strength: Physical therapists will instruct you and your child on exercises that will increase muscle strength. This will be accomplished through games and fun activities aimed at improving strength in your child’s upper extremities, lower extremities, and core musculature. Building strength is important as a child needs a strong core to sit upright and control their body position before they are able to develop other skills such as fine motor tasks or talking.

Improve motor control and developmental skills: Mastering motor skills such as crawling, standing, and walking are vital for child development. Physical therapists will provide hands-on training for positioning, movement, and play that will support attainment of developmental milestones and prevention of inappropriate compensation patterns.

Improve balance and coordination: With the use of equipment such as balance beams and foam surfaces, the physical therapist will improve the child's ability to walk and play on unsteady surfaces aiding in improving their balance. Bilateral coordination skills such as jumping jacks, skipping, hopping and dribbling a ball will be incorporated into therapy as well.

Please contact our Point Loma clinic for further information or if you'd like to schedule an appointment. 

Contact our Pediatric Clinic

For more information related to this topic, here's another blog entry you may be interested in: More Info


Author Bio:

If Keith Carson's hand is the first one you'll shake, Peter Harris' may be the second. He is responsible for business development as it relates to our outpatient clinics.

  • down syndrome PT.jpg