Teens With Down Syndrome

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Raising a teenager with down syndrome is a challenging task for parents. You need to equip yourself with as much information as you can get, so that you can plan the upbringing of your teenager, ensuring his overall growth and well-being.

If you are flipping the pages of some medical magazines or surfing the web for details on dealing with the disorder in teens, then look no further. MomJunction is here to help you learn all necessary aspects of down syndrome in adolescents. Scroll down to find out more.

What Is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder occurring due to an abnormal cellular division, leading to the growth of extra genetic material from chromosome 21 resulting in 47 chromosomes instead of 46 (1). This genetic disorder can cause a combination of abnormalities such as delayed cognitive and physical development. So, you need to know all about Down syndrome in adolescents.

Behavioral Problems In The Teens With Down Syndrome:

Raising a Down syndrome-affected teen is not an easy task as he tends to have several unusual behavioral patterns than typical teens.

Teens with Down syndrome may show frustration, irritation, anger, and compulsive behavioral traits based on the severity of the condition. Early escape behaviors, such as throwing away the things or giving up challenging tasks, self-stimulatory behaviors, such as hand waving, and inappropriate attention seeking behaviors, such as entering a banned area, can also be found among the teens with the disorder. However, it is important to note that a teen with Down syndrome may not show all of these symptoms as it can vary from person to person.

You may observe a change in the eating habits of your teen; he may eat too much or too little. Change in the sleeping habits is another prominent change in a teen with the disorder; your teen may sleep for long hours or a few hours. At times, you may find your teen make pointless, unintentional, and purposeless movements. Also, the teen may perform various routine, simple activities very slowly.

Physical Growth And Health Of A Teen With Down Syndrome:

The appearance of a teen with Down syndrome is a bit different from an average teen. Here, we list some common physical signs of a teen with the disorder (2).

  • Flat face
  • Short neck
  • Slanting eyes in upward direction
  • Unusually shaped ears
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Loose ligaments
  • Short height

The disorder can also hamper the health of the teen. Here, we list some common health issues in adolescents with Down syndrome (3).

  • Heart defects right from the childhood
  • Vision impairment
  • Hearing problems
  • Obesity
  • Vulnerability to various infections, such as ear infection, cold, and other infections.

Learning Potential Of Teens With Down Syndrome:

Teens with Down syndrome may take longer time than normal teens to learn new things. You need to explain new skills in a step-by-step manner and repeatedly to help them learn and retain the skills. Any skill learning process needs to be continuous without any gap to ensure their steady progress. Academically, even if your affected teen can’t excel as good as average teens, he can go to the school and also complete his tertiary education efficiently.

Parenting And Treating Teens With Down Syndrome:

Even though Down syndrome is not completely curable, following certain parenting tips and medical assistance can make your teen’s life easier. Here, we list some effectual techniques and treatments that can help your teen overcome the effects of the disorder and lead a healthy, happy life.

  • Be patient while dealing with your Down syndrome affected teen. You may need to explain various things again and again to him with patience.
  • Give your teen a healthy, nutritious diet to prevent the risk of obesity, hypertension, cardiac problems and health issues.
  • Encourage your teen to exercise twenty to thirty minutes daily to maintain good physical and psychological health. Teach him aerobic exercises, such cycling, running, swimming, and other activities, for good health.
  • Make sure your child gets adequate, continuous sleep that helps him stay fresh and active throughout the day.
  • Encourage your teen to participate in various social opportunities as it helps develop the sense of self-esteem, confidence, and happiness and minimizes the stress and depression.
  • If your teen’s oratory and physical development lag considerably in comparison to the average teens, then you can enroll your teen for speech and physical therapy sessions for improving his potential.
  • Behavioral training can help you and your teen to tackle the anger, frustration, and other behavioral problems quickly.
  • Consult an expert doctor, if you think your teen suffers from a deficiency or needs any medical attention, and give your teen only prescribed drugs and supplements to improve his condition.

Which parenting tips and treatments helped you in improving your teen’s condition? Share your experiences and knowledge with fellow moms by leaving a comment below.

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