There is no standard treatment for Down syndrome. Treatments are based on the individual’s specific needs. In developing a treatment plan for a person with Down syndrome, personal strengths and limitations are carefully considered.
Typically the most successful treatment plan for a child with Down syndrome is holistic. Often they will receive care from a team of health professionals. This team might include a combination of physicians, special educators, speech therapists,occupational therapists, and physical therapists, and social workers. Stimulation and encouragement should be a central focus of the professionals who care for children with Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome are at risk for a number of health problems and conditions. Often these associated conditions require care immediately after birth, continual treatment throughout childhood, and/or long-term lifelong treatment. Conditions commonly associated with Down syndrome include heart defects, vision problems, hearing loss, infections, hyperthyroidism, blood disorders, poor muscle tone, upper spine issues, disrupted sleep patterns, gum disease, and dental problems, epilepsy, digestive disorders, celiac disease, and mental health and emotional problems. Specialized doctors such as pediatric cardiologists care for those with Down syndrome.
There is no approved medication to treat Down syndrome. Some people with Down syndrome take amino acids or drugs that affect brain activity. However, many of the clinical trials associated with these treatments revealed a host of adverse effects from these treatments. More recently, more specific psychoactive drugs have been developed. As of yet, no studies have demonstrated their safety or efficacy. This being said drugs may be used to aid in managing the associated conditions listed above and their symptoms.
Aside from drug intervention, a variety of therapies can be used to treat Down syndrome. Physical therapy, speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and emotional behavioral therapy promote development and independence.