Downs Syndrom

Pamela Doswell
Gross Motor Skills in Down Syndrome
Psychology 200
Professor Ralph Huling
April 17, 2013

    Children with Down syndrome have enormous potential, but it is only recently that we have
learned to work with them to maximize that potential.   Children with Down syndrome like other
children, develop according to their own timetable.   Some develop slower than others and some
faster.   In general, though a number of physical and medical problems can delay your child’s
development of the various gross motor skills.   Down syndrome children have low muscle tone, which is also called hypotonia.   Hypotonia is most easily observed when they are infants.   When you pick a baby with Down syndrome up you will notice that he or she feels floppy or somewhat like a ragdoll.   If you put him or her on their back his head will turn to the side, his arms will fall away from his body and rest on the surface, and his legs will fall open.   The floppiness is due to reduced muscle tone and the low muscle tone, along with decreased strength and endurance, makes it more difficult to learn gross motor skills.
    Hypotonia affects each child to a different degree.   In some children, the effect is mild and in others, it is more profound.   The low tone improves over time but persists throughout life.   Some areas of the body may be more affected than others.   For instance, a child may have lower tone in the arms than in the legs.   On the other hand, a child may have lower tone on the left side than on the right side.   Hypotonia in a particular area will affect development of skills that require the use of that area.   For example, a child with lower tone in his arms will find it more difficult to learn to belly crawl and to pull to stand since he needs to use his arms to perform these activities.   A child with lower tone is his stomach will find it more difficult to balance in standings and to learn to creep on his hands and knees, since he needs to use his stomach...