Learning to identify signs of Down syndrome will promote understanding of the condition and help parents to cope with the challenges, difficulties, and joys of raising a Down child.
Step 1: Look at your baby or toddler. Many Down syndrome babies don't show abnormalities, or recognizable traits such as large eyes, protruding tongues or small skulls at birth, though some do. Facial features may appear small, with a flat nose, large tongue and small mouth. Look at your baby's eyes. Many Down Syndrome babies have almond-shaped eyes.
Step 2: Check your baby's muscle tone. Often, Down babies appear floppy or loose jointed and lack firm muscle tone. This makes it difficult for them to hold up their head as they grow, or cause uncoordinated movements when reaching or grabbing objects.
Step 3: Look at your baby's ears. Sometimes, Down syndrome babies have ears that are not shaped normally. When in doubt, check with your pediatrician, as there may be other reasons for such anamolies.
Step 4: Observe your baby's hands. In some cases, Down babies have larger than normal hands, and their little fingers sometimes curve inward. Again, just because your baby has large hands does not mean he or she has Down Syndrome. Avoid jumping to conclusions and watch for and observe signs and symptoms in groups, not individually.
Step 5: Observe your child's growth rate. In most cases, Down babies grow at a slower pace than their peers, and may never reach normal height or weight standards. Have your pediatrician perform regular weight and height measurements and watch for signs of delayed learning processes such as with crawling, walking and talking.