Down’s Syndrome: Case Question

Jennifer Posts

DEAR ERI COMMUNITY: I am a new pediatric occupational therapist and I can’t wait to hear some suggestions. A fellow physical therapist and I have been struggling with a patient: 16 month old female, Dx with Down’s syndrome. I have been seeing this pt. for around 5 months. The physical therapist and I whom are working with this little one feel as if we have hit a wall for about the last month. The patient was making excellent progress, including independence with sitting balance and improvement with functional transitions. The patient now begins to cry the second she leaves her Mother’s arms. We have tried having the mother observe unseen through a one way mirror, using the mother as a distracter, and even utilizing Mom for much of the handling. The other therapist and I have begun testing a variety of sensory strategies along with private rooms, large treatment gym, natural lighting, low lighting, music, etc. We have backed off with handling and tried moving off of the floor to platform swings, swiss ball, & even mother’s lap to no avail. The patient immediately closes her eyes, throws herself into extension, begins to cry, and is unable to be calmed by Mom or therapist. The patient has been cleared by her MD for GI, cardiac, and any other factors we could think of. Mom and Dad report the Pt does not demonstrate any difficulties at home. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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2 Responses to Down’s Syndrome: Case Question

  1. Heather Hughes, Ms, PT says:

    Paralell play next to her with something very enticing. Gain her trust little by little, play with Mom and then include her slowly phasing out Moms participation. There will be something that she will love, it will just take time to find it.

  2. Hi, remember that all kids get to the age where they become more aware of their surroundings and who is caring for them and they go through an attachment to their primary caregiver, usually mom. In spanish we call this “mamitis” Most kids go through this aroung 9 months but as with everything else, Down’s kids are a bit late with this too. Could be she is just now experiencing this. I agree with the advice above. Get out her favorite toy, have a few others close by as attention span is short. Just got through a period or a few sessions where you really just play even though if it is not necesarily the most therapeutic to regain her trust. Good luck.

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