Health & Nutrition
All children and adults with Down syndrome should have access to quality healthcare, be seen regularly by a primary care physician and dentist, and have information about how to live a healthy lifestyle. Establishing local Down Syndrome Healthcare Clinics (for pediatrics, adults, and mental health issues) is on the visioning list of our organization.
Children with Down syndrome often see medical specialists as part of routine healthcare. All healthcare professionals should be familiar with the Down Syndrome Healthcare Guidelines outlining protocol for care beginning at birth. Families may need to provide this resource. From birth to aging there are many health related issues that face individuals with Down syndrome. Families can take an active role in advocating by accessing information regarding advances in healthcare and research. Please continue to scroll down this page for more information.
It is important to get children involved in making good food and exercise choices at an early age in order to develop healthy habits. This means more than an organized sport once a week. It may be helpful to choose, along with team-type sports, sports that allow lifelong participation at an individual’s activity level, such as swimming, aerobics and dance, weightlifting and other activities that people do at the gym, tennis, or bike riding, etc. See our Recreation Opportunities page for information about local leisure and sports opportunities.
Healthy eating and making good food choices is often difficult. There are so many unhealthy eating choices out there and so many opportunities to be tempted…from soda to chocolate to ice cream to potato chips! Children and adults with Down syndrome are no different. It is important to set good examples and insist (whenever possible!) that kids eat healthy. One resource available is Joan Medlen’s website. She is the author of the Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook which aims to help parents improve nutrition and manage weight by teaching healthy habits early, but remember it’s never too late to start!
Down Syndrome Healthcare Guidelines
You will find the Healthcare Guidelines, which were approved in 2011, detail a step by step process of accepted protocol in the general healthcare of individuals with Down syndrome.
National Down Syndrome Society website pages and related links for healthcare issues for individuals with Down syndrome.
National Down Syndrome Congress website pages and related links for healthcare issues for individuals with Down syndrome.
Special Needs Dentistry
Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine 954-262-7501.
Free Dental Services for Children with Special Needs through the Grottoes of North American
Link to Hope Haven Down Syndrome Clinic
Other health related links:
Specs4Us specially designed eyeglasses. Check the website for other locations.
Toilet Training article
Local Nutrition Resource: Family Nutrition Center of South Florida
Information for Medical Professionals on our website.