While you may have been surprised to learn your baby has Down syndrome, know your child will be a wonderful addition to your family.
Babies with Down syndrome need what all babies need -cuddles, nourishment, and love. They will grow, learn and develop, reaching childhood milestones- just at their own rate. Although your baby may have some physical characteristics common to people with Down syndrome, he or she will also look like members of your family.
Your baby also needs health care, a rich stimulating environment and the company of family and friends. A good starting point would be to contact your local Early Intervention program. You can find a link to the Early Intervention Nova Scotia website on our Links page. The brochures “Your child with Down syndrome” and “Celebrate Being” explain some of the characteristics of individuals with Down syndrome, including possible health and developmental issues. You can download these brochures by clicking on the links below.
About Down Syndrome…
· Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always existed. It occurs in all races, genders, geographic areas and in all walks of life.
· People with Down syndrome look like and share characteristics of family members and also share physical characteristics with their peers who have Down syndrome.
· People with Down syndrome have their own unique personality, temperament, capabilities, likes, dislikes and talents.
· All individuals with Down syndrome will have some degree of intellectual disability, however there is a wide variation in mental abilities, behavior and physical development.
· Today early infant stimulation programs and improved educational opportunities enhance a person’s prospects for the future.
· People with Down syndrome learn at different rates and benefit from inclusive classroom settings just like their peers.
· In adulthood, some individuals with Down syndrome will live independently; most individuals with Down syndrome will continue to require daily support in their home environment.
· Increasingly children with Down syndrome are performing at levels undreamed of in the past. Many children are graduating from high school, gaining job skills, attending post-secondary institutions, and finding meaningful employment.
· Many individuals with Down syndrome form meaningful relationships and get married.
· People with Down syndrome enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities and can excel in sports, music, drama and the arts.
· Heart defects are found in 30% – 50% of individuals with Down syndrome and 8% – 12% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth. Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery.
· Life expectancy of an individual with Down syndrome is reduced, however 80% of individuals will live to age 55. One of the main causes of a reduced life expectancy is the high rate of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease for individuals with Down syndrome.
· Down syndrome is not the whole person – it is just a part of who they are.
If you would like more information on Down syndrome or would appreciate speaking to a parent for a more personal account of how Down syndrome has affected their life and the lives of their loved ones, please contact the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society through the website or email address listed below. As well, Susan Flewelling, Christine Lane and Tara Rutherford are three parents of children with Down syndrome who are happy to speak about their personal experiences.
Susan Flewelling (902) 835-8539
Christine Lane (902) 865-9278
Tara Rutherford (902) 885-3637
Your child with Down syndrome Document
Celebrate Being – About Down syndrome Document
Celebrate Being – About the CDSS
My Flower Of Hope
By JoAnn Doucette Noakes
She’d always loved spring and the flowers
A sign of hope for the land
A sign that God is with us
And life unfolds as He planned