Physical characteristics

Children With Developmental Challenges 3(2+1)

Lesson 21 : Down Syndrome

Physical Characteristics

  • Shorter than average height
  • Back of head is flat
  • Eyelids slant upward and have a small skin fold at the inner corner
  • Depressed nasal bridge
  • Slightly smaller ears
  • Low muscle tone
  • Loose ligaments
  • Small hands, feet and mouth

Individuals with Down syndrome are usually smaller than their non-disabled peers, and their physical as well as intellectual development is slower.

Besides having a distinct physical appearance, children with Down syndrome frequently have specific health-related problems. A lowered resistance to infection makes these children more prone to respiratory problems. Visual problems such as crossed eyes and far- or nearsightedness are higher in those with Down syndrome, as are mild to moderate hearing loss and speech difficulty.

Approximately one third of babies born with Down syndrome have heart defects, most of which are now successfully correctable. Some individuals are born with gastrointestinal tract problems that can be surgically corrected.
Children with Down syndrome may have a tendency to become obese as they grow older. Besides having negative social implications, this weight gain threatens these individuals' health and longevity. A supervised diet and exercise program may help reduce this problem.

Last modified: Friday, 25 May 2012, 12:26 PM