Physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills to improve your childs ability to move and function across all environments (home, school and community). Children with Down syndrome, like other children, develop according to their own timetable - some slower than others, and some faster. However, a number of physical and medical issues may delay your child's development of various gross motor skills.
Among others, physical issues might include hypotonia (low muscle tone), increased flexibility in joints, decreased strength, and shorter arms/legs. Medical issues might include heart, stomach or intestinal problems, chronic upper respiratory infections and ear infections.
Your child should nonetheless master the basic gross motor skills of sitting, walking, running, jumping and riding a tricycle. You can also expect him or her to learn more complex skills, such as dancing, swimming, horseback riding, karate, jogging and sports. For most children with Down syndrome, gross motor skills eventually become one of their strengths. And like other children, they are able to develop and refine new motor skills throughout their lives.
*Resource: Winders, Patricia, Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals (MD, Woodbine House, Inc., 1997), X - XI.