Children and young people with Down’s syndrome

Occupational therapy helps children participate in their everyday lives and activities to the best of their ability. A child’s occupations are the meaningful, daily activities that they need or want to do, including play and learning, exploration of their environment, self care (dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene, etc) and school work (handwriting, organising work, cutting, drawing, PE and sports, etc).

Babies and children who have a diagnosis of Down's syndrome experience some delay in all aspects of their development – physical, social, language, play and emotional. They also have some physical features, such as low muscle tone, which may impact on their development and acquisition of skills. Occupational therapy can help your baby or child in these areas.

What does occupational therapy offer children with Down's syndrome?


The assessment process may require gathering relevant information from parents/teachers and other key professionals via interviews, telephone calls or email; direct interaction with the child; use of standardised and non-standardised assessments, together with observations in different settings, for example at play, during school activities and undertaking everyday life skills, such as dressing.


The exact nature and amount of therapy provided will depend on the child’s needs. It could be in the form of:

  • direct individual or group therapy sessions, with a defined period of time prior to review
  • use of home and nursery/school programmes to integrate treatment activities into real life environments
  • regular review or monitoring of the child’s progress
  • consultation and training for school staff and parents.