Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How long do children with Down Syndrome do Physical Therapy?

I remember asking Cate's first PT that question about a year into her starting PT.  She told me the true answer for most every question that includes the phrase "children with Down Syndrome" - "There is no way to tell, it really depends on the child".    She followed that up with something like "For Cate my guess is she'll need PT until she starts elementary school".  Well she was right.  Cate graduated from PT yesterday 6 months after starting kindergarten.  We started traditional PT with Cate when she was 6 weeks old and was this cute -

Cate - Feb 2006
We added Aqua Therapy at 18 months old and she was not walking or cruising but was just as cute -

Cate - August 2007 (she is sitting not standing here)
Then we dropped traditional when she was about 3.5 years old and did Aqua only.  We have done PT at least one hour weekly without a significant break right up to yesterday.  Yesterday was Cate's last Aqua Therapy session and it made me proud since she worked so hard for every milestone and it made me sad because we love all 3 of the PTs we've worked with over the last 6 years.

Cate showing off her new swim team goggles & float last night

The 6 year old attitude coming out!
Opinions on therapy for children with DS fall from "who needs it" to "do as much as you can".  My personal opinion is that it is necessary and in truth any child benefits from one on one attention with a professional in most any area.  Do I think Cate would have rolled over, crawled, walked without PT? Of course she would have, maybe weeks or months later but she would have hit each milestone with just our help.  The biggest benefit for us in doing consistent PT was that Cate never got behind and we never had to scramble to find a therapist or rearrange our schedule to deal with a delay.  I think by doing PT constantly for 6 years, it helped our family by making it a habit we didn't have to think too much about and it helped Cate by making her stronger physically and keeping her schedule consistent.  My recommendation for anyone who is wondering if they should add PT for their baby with DS is to give it a try.  If it isn't too demanding on your schedule or your finances then you can't go wrong adding PT with a therapist that you like.  Cate's PTs have not just made her stronger, they have made me more confident with their excellent advice and guidance.  Thank you J, J, & K!!!

1 comment:

  1. Love the pics! My thoughts are of the "do whatever you can" variety. But I think we're going to be getting dropped from our private PT soon, as well as from the school PT. I'm sad, because I keep thinking there are so many things Sammi still can't do like her "typical" peers (LOL - I know that's not realistic, though), but do they *really* impact her ability to function in life? To get around? No. She's just fine. And some of those other things *will* come eventually.

    Great post - thank you for making me think, and to prepare me for the eventuality of hearing those words from her PT, "Sammi doesn't need to see me anymore."