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Down Syndrome in Children: Care Instructions


Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by having an extra chromosome. It affects a baby's development. Children who have this condition may share similar features and have certain health issues. As they grow, they often learn to talk later than other children and have some intellectual disability. But with extra care and support, most people with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives.

When you find out that your child has Down syndrome, you might have a wide range of feelings. You might also have a lot of questions. Your doctor can help answer your questions and connect you with resources to help you learn more.

You can check with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society online at for more detailed information, and to connect to a local Down syndrome group for parents.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Be patient and upbeat with your young child as they learn to turn over, sit, stand, walk, talk, and master other skills.
  • Help your baby learn to talk. Use simple communication. This includes looking at your baby while speaking or showing and naming objects.
  • To help your young child learn to walk:
    • Move your baby's arms and legs in swimming motions.
    • Bounce your baby on your lap while you hold your baby in a standing position.
    • Help your baby roll over so that they can become stronger and more mobile.
    • Support your baby in a sitting position, but let them lean forward for balance.
  • Encourage your child's use and control of the large muscles of the legs, trunk, and arms and the smaller muscles of the hands:
    • Place toys just out of your child's reach. Encourage your child to get them.
    • Play pat-a-cake with your baby.
    • Place your baby's legs so that they are touching when you carry or hold your baby.
    • Let your child slap their hands and bang pots on the table at times.
  • Enroll your young child (infant through age 3) in an early-intervention program. Trained staff will help your child get stronger and learn new skills.
  • Know that it is okay for your child to be challenged and to sometimes fail.

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