Health A-Z

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There is no treatment to reverse the genetic abnormality that causes Down syndrome. However, many of the associated medical and developmental conditions can be treated to:

  • enhance the person's quality of life

  • improve the child's development, and

  • increase his or her life expectancy.

Many health care professionals may be involved in assessing and planning the course of treatment for a child with Down syndrome. Surgery may be required for cardiac or gastrointestinal problems.

Physical therapy and integrated special education services help children with Down syndrome to make the most of their abilities and reach their potential. Children with Down syndrome usually respond very well to sensory stimulation, exercises to help their muscle control, and activities to help their mental development. School helps children with Down syndrome to learn social, academic and physical skills that may allow them to attain a very high level of functioning and independence.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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