Most children born with Down syndrome will experience delay in physical, cognitive and/or language development. Like all people, however, people with Down syndrome vary widely in their mental and physical abilities. Therapists in early intervention and school programs can work with your child to help him or her develop motor skills, cognitive skills, communication skills, self-help skills and social-emotional skills. Depending on your child's needs, you will most likely work with an occupational, physical and speech therapist at some point during your child's first five years of life.
Early intervention services and support may include, among other things, occupational therapy, physical therapy, assistive technology, audiology, counseling, nursing services, nutrition services, psychological services, respite services, social work services, speech and language services and/or vision services.
The federal law governing early intervention is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In California, the Early Intervention Services Act, S.B. 1085 (1993) requires statewide services for eligible infants and toddlers from birth up to 36 months. The program is called California Early Start for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and Their Families.
Although each type of therapy contributes to your child's overall ability, the focus of each discipline differs.
Your child may benefit from other interventions and therapies as well. You can discuss other options with your Regional Center Service Coordinator.