Does your toddler have small or frail body parts? Do her eyes have spots or are they almond-shaped? If your toddler is unlike others her age and you nodded along to these questions, you should consider reading this post. Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that can trigger the symptoms we mention above. Don’t panic, read on and get some important information about Down syndrome in toddlers.
What Is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, which occurs due to the presence of an extra chromosome. It can manifest itself as physical disorders, mild growth delays, and moderate intellectual disabilities. It is a rare disorder and occurs with a probability of 0.14%. However, it remains the most common genetic disorder. Down syndrome does not have a cure and is only manageable. Proper care and sufficient help can help a toddler lead a normal life.
Types Of Down Syndrome:
Down syndrome takes on three major types, which include:
1. Trisomy 21:
Trisomy 21 is an extra occurrence of genetic material in the 21st chromosome, and it is responsible for 95% of Down syndrome cases.
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When a part of the 21st chromosome detaches and adds on somewhere else, translocation can occur. Translocation is responsible for 4% of Down syndrome cases.
Mosaicism is a mix of normal and abnormal cells with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. It is responsible for 1% of Down syndrome cases.
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Symptoms And Recognition:
Initially, parents find it difficult to diagnose Down syndrome in toddlers, as they appear quite normal. As the toddler ages, the abnormalities begin to surface, which makes disease diagnosis difficult in the initial stages. If the effect of the extra chromosome is relatively high, the baby may develop the symptoms earlier than normal. The symptoms of toddlers with down syndrome may include:
- Abnormal eyes (almond shaped) with spots on the irises.
- Relatively small body parts, the head, or limbs.
- Single palmar crease on the hands
- A high rate of congenital heart defects
- Low muscle tone
- Small, abnormal shaped ears
If Down syndrome symptoms appear in a newborn or a toddler, it is important to conduct blood and chromosomal tests. Chromosomal tests are the only way to confirm Down syndrome.
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It is tough to pinpoint the causes of Down syndrome as it is a genetic disorder and not a microbial attack. However, research indicates that doctors now have a decent idea of what can lead to Down syndrome. (1)
1. Mother’s Age:
Older mothers are more prone to having a child with Down syndrome than young mothers. Young mothers may also have a child with Down syndrome, but after 35 the risk only increases.
2. Previous Child With Down Syndrome:
Mothers with a previous child suffering from Down syndrome may deliver a newborn with the same condition. It is a genetic disorder, and the mother’s chromosomes will not change.
3. Medical History:
If anyone in the family has Down syndrome, the chance of future generations contracting it increases.
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Managing Down Syndrome:
We know that Down syndrome is a lifelong condition that, unfortunately, has no cure. However, there are certain steps you can take to make your toddler’s life easier. You will need to be tolerant, love them and care for them. So, consider following some of these steps:
- Get a health check for your toddler once in a year to track any abnormalities that occur as she grows up and understand the necessary treatments.
- Down syndrome leads to a mild mental disorder, which will make your toddler a slow learner. She might need some extra care and special attention.
- You need to make the toddler comfortable so that he doesn’t realize his oddness among normal kids.
- 40 percent of affected toddlers grow up to lead a normal life. The other 60% needs rest, love, care and attention.
How did you handle your toddler with down syndrome. Share the information with other moms here and ease their anxieties. If you have a suggestion, story or experience to share, please leave a comment below.