Down Syndrome & ADHD Awareness Month

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by a duplication of chromosome 21. Each year, approximately 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States. This makes Down syndrome the most common chromosomal birth defect in the nation.

People with Down syndrome typically have recognizable facial features, as well as developmental disorders and intellectual difficulties. For these reasons, early intervention is vital in children with Down syndrome. They can benefit from physical therapy, speech & language therapy, and occupational therapy. Our outpatient pediatric clinic, the Milestones Center for Child Development, located at the Pomona Valley Health Center in Claremont, offers physical, occupational, and speech & language therapy to help children with Down syndrome meet their developmental milestones.

Many children with Down syndrome have low or poor muscle tone, which delays their gross motor and fine motor development. Due to their low muscle tone, babies and children with Down syndrome may require physical therapy to help them learn how to roll, sit, crawl, walk, and safely navigate their environment as they grow. For children with a high-arched palate in the roof of the mouth and tongue thrust, or those who suffer from chronic ear infections, speech & language therapy is utilized to help them learn to talk verbally or through sign language. Speech therapy also works on clarity and language development. Occupational therapy helps these children participate in daily living activities such as dressing and feeding themselves.

The life expectancy has significantly increased for individuals with Down syndrome. Today, a person with this disorder can live for more than 60 years, depending on the severity of their medical problems. People with Down syndrome can live fulfilling, independent lives. Building foundational skills early is a critical component to bettering their quality of life.

Learn more about the Milestones Center for Child Development.

To make an appointment, please call: 909.621.7956.

ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting children. Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and have significant difficulty controlling their impulses. Often times, they have difficulty paying attention in the home and/or classroom setting.

Symptoms in children are grouped into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Examples of inattention in a child’s daily routine may include concentrating during tasks, play, or conversations, problems with doing tasks in sequence or not finishing schoolwork, and not listening to directions or starting them but getting sidetracked. Hyperactivity or impulsivity may show as difficulty waiting their turn, appearing as if they are “always on the go” and constantly in motion, or running around or climbing in situations where it is inappropriate. People with ADHD may present with a combination of the three symptom-groups. A diagnosis is based on symptoms occurring over a six-month period.

"In many instances where I encounter ADHD in the clinic, the child is referred because they are ‘always on the go’ and have trouble sitting still, which makes daily activities like dressing, mealtimes, and table work a challenge to complete,” says Julia Huang, Occupational Therapist at the Milestones Center for Child Development. “Some children also have poor motor skills and are less coordinated compared to their peers. I provide parents with the right tools and ways to modify their home environment to help kids adapt and participate better."

While the cause is unknown at this time, researchers believe that genetics, chemical imbalances, exposure to toxins, or brain injury/disorder are factors that may lead to ADHD. In addition, poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse during pregnancy affect a baby’s brain development. These factors are taken into consideration for children exhibiting signs of ADHD.

Best practice guidelines recommend medication management to help address the neurobiological-based symptoms of the disorder; therapy can also help teach families coping strategies and environmental supports to help children with ADHD function in the home and community. Occupational therapists can teach parents how to modify the home environment and use strategies to help children participate in activities. Some children with ADHD also have learning disabilities, and may need help to with organization and strategies to complete tasks.

Our outpatient pediatric clinicMilestones Center for Child Development, located at the Pomona Valley Health Center in Claremont, offers occupational therapy focusing on sensory processing deficits. Children with ADHD may have difficulty organizing their senses which will then impact their ability to attend and focus on daily living activities as well as involved educational tasks. Occupational therapy can help a child with ADHD, as well as help their family learn about their sensory system and develop a plan to increase focus and attention.

Learn more about the Milestones Center for Child Development.

To make an appointment, please call: 909.621.7956.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/down-syndrome/down-syndrome-facts#takeaway

https://www.cdc.gov/features/down-syndrome-day/index.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/down-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355983

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml

https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd#2

https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/adhd/

https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/occupational-therapy-for-children-with-adhd#1

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