Common features of Down syndrome
Children with Down syndrome share physical features with other children with Down syndrome, but they also look like their own family members.
Down syndrome is different for everyone affected, but all people with Down syndrome have some intellectual disability. It can range from quite mild to more severe.
For children with Down syndrome, intellectual disability will mean some delay in development and some learning difficulty.
People with Down syndrome might also have a range of medical and health conditions, so it’s important to have your child’s health checked regularly by health professionals.
Supporting your child with Down syndrome
You can expect that the key milestones – like walking, talking and crawling – will probably be slower to come for your baby with Down syndrome.
But as with any other baby, your love and stimulation are the most important influences on your baby’s development. Children learn the most from the people who care for them and with whom they spend most of their time, so everyday play and communication can help your child a lot.
With family and community support, your child with Down syndrome can grow up to be just like anyone else – living in the community, holding down a job and having good relationships with friends and family.
Regular health and development checks will help to spot any issues for your child. Talking to health professionals like your child and family health nurse or GP is also a good way to work out what help you and your child need.
Early intervention services for children with Down syndrome
Although there’s no cure for Down syndrome, early intervention can make a difference. Through early intervention services, you can work with health professionals to treat your child’s symptoms, support your child, improve outcomes for your child and help him reach his full potential.
The team of professionals involved in supporting you and your child might include paediatricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, special education teachers and psychologists.
Together, you and your team can choose treatment and therapy options to best help your child.
Financial support for children with Down syndrome
If you live in a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) trial area and your child has a confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome, your child can get support under the NDIS. The NDIS helps you get services and support in your community, and gives you funding for things like early intervention therapies or education support.
If you don’t live in one of the NDIS trial areas, your child can get funding under the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative. If your child is eligible for the NDIS, she’ll be moved over when it becomes available in your area. Read our NDIS and Better Start FAQs for more information.
Looking after yourself
Being told that your unborn or new baby has Down syndrome can be a big shock for you and your family and friends. If you need information and support, a good place to start is your state or territory Down syndrome association.
Down syndrome services and resources
Australian Capital Territory
ACT Down Syndrome Association
New South Wales
Down Syndrome New South Wales
Down Syndrome Association of the Northern Territory
Down Syndrome Association of Queensland
Down Syndrome South Australia
Down Syndrome Tasmania
Down Syndrome Victoria
Down Syndrome Western Australia