Down Syndrome, Ages 5 to 13
If your child with Down syndrome is between the ages of 5 and 13, you will likely have ongoing questions and concerns. Your doctor can help answer your questions. And he or she can guide you to appropriate resources to help you manage your feelings and plan for your child's long-term care needs.
Your doctor will likely address a variety of issues during your child's regularly scheduled checkups. In addition to talking about health problems, your doctor may talk with you and your child about concerns like:
- Growth and development. Discuss how self-help skills (such as grooming and dressing) are developing and whether your child is gaining a sense of responsibility. As your child approaches puberty, discuss physical and sexual development, including any concerns you have about menstrual hygiene and management, fertility, and contraception.
- Diet and exercise. Because excessive weight gain is common for children with Down syndrome, providing your child with healthy meals and regular exercise is especially important. Talk to your child's doctor to find out what physical activities your child can safely do.
- Education and training. Your doctor will want updates on your child's academic progress at school. Also discuss any special programs or treatments (such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy) that your child is participating in.
- Social skills and relationships outside the home. Discuss your child's general behavior and what kinds of social opportunities he or she has.
- Family well-being. Talk about the relationships between family members and how your child with Down syndrome interacts with those close to him or her. You also may be asked about financial issues and future guardianship arrangements for your child.