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Down Syndrome and other Congenital Syndromes

Infants and children who have been diagnosed with a congenital syndrome such as Down Syndrome are referred for ongoing therapies at the Children’s Treatment Centre (CTC) at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario).

Physiotherapy through Action Potential Rehabilitation is helpful when:

  • Your child is on a waiting list for physiotherapy at CHEO
  • Your child would respond better by being treated at home
  • It is difficult for you to transport your child to therapy appointments
  • Your child would benefit from Pool Therapy
  • Your child requires more frequent therapy than is currently available through CHEO
  • Your child is not eligible to receive physiotherapy services from CHEO (Quebec resident or school-age child)

Children with congenital syndromes typically have physical characteristics such as lower muscle tone (decreased readiness for movement), which impact their ability to acquire gross motor skills. They tend to develop compensatory movement patterns which may impair their ultimate ability to walk or run. Early physiotherapy can help infants and children to develop more appropriate movement patterns, strengthen weak muscles, and develop functional skills such as sitting, crawling and walking.

The paediatric physiotherapists at Action Potential Rehabilitation work exclusively with infants and children with developmental disabilities and movement disorders.  They have taken many specialized courses in treatment approaches such as Motor Relearning, Neuro Developmental Treatment (NDT) / Bobath and Medek. They also have training in techniques such as Kinesiotaping and Myofascial Release, which can be beneficial adjuncts to Hands-on Physiotherapy. – Link to Paeds Hands-On.

Our paediatric physiotherapists are well aware of the medical complications associated with many syndromes. Given the frequency of associated immune suppression, they are very careful with handwashing and toy cleaning when treating children. They understand the impact that GERD (reflux) can have on a child’s development, and can help you recognize the subtle signs of reflux and its implications. Through direct hands-on treatment and activity suggestions for parents, your child’s physiotherapist will help to guide your child’s development and provide you with the support and treatment that your child needs to help them reach their potential.

Image references:

  1. Action Potential Rehabilitation, 2020. 

This website provides general information about our services and conditions treated. It is not intended to be used for self-assessment or treatment, and is not a substitute for an individualized treatment plan developed by a registered physiotherapist.

By the Action Potential Rehabilitation Staff

Page last reviewed: June 2, 2023