Experts at the Sie Center for Down Syndrome provide comprehensive care for babies, kids and young adults who have Down syndrome. Our patients range from the prenatal phase of life up to age 21. The Sie Center offers state-of-the-art treatment and evaluation by a multidisciplinary team. Our team stays current on medical and developmental needs of children with Down syndrome.
The Sie Center care team
Developmental Pediatrician/Nurse Practitioner
Developmental pediatricians and nurse practitioners are the experts who will evaluate your child and provide treatment recommendations for Down syndrome. To perform a complete evaluation, they use information obtained during your visit to the Sie Center and from other sources, such as medical records, input from your child’s physicians, educational records, and records from psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists.
The developmental pediatrician or nurse practitioner will review the medical and developmental assessment, along with current recommendations, to coordinate care and maximize your child’s health and abilities.
Because of certain physical characteristics like low muscle tone, lax ligaments and decreased strength, a child with Down syndrome does not develop gross motor skills in the same way as the typically-developing child. A physical therapist evaluates and makes treatment recommendations for such concerns as gross motor skill development, foot management, strengthening exercises and posture.
Over the long term, a physical therapist will help the child develop good posture, proper foot alignment, an efficient walking pattern and a good physical foundation for exercise throughout life. Read an article about the goal of physical therapy for children with Down syndrome, written by our Senior Physical Therapist, Patricia Winders.
A speech-language pathologist has the information and expertise to help address the speech and language challenges faced by many children with Down syndrome. Most children with Down syndrome will be delayed in acquiring speech and language skills (especially expressive skills). The frustration commonly experienced with making their needs known may lead to behavioral issues.
Because children with Down syndrome are usually better at understanding others than expressing themselves verbally, speech therapy is a recommended intervention to treat speech sound production disorders (pronunciation) problems, giving these children a chance to better communicate with others. A speech-language pathologist will provide resources and demonstrate methods and at-home activities to help a child master new speech and language skills.
A psychologist provides consultation with schools, parent training regarding management of challenging or unsafe behaviors, evaluation for dual diagnoses (Down syndrome and Autism), and desensitization to medical devices (such as hearing aids) and procedures which may cause distress. A psychologist also provides treatment planning and intervention strategies.
A social worker assists families in coping with the social, emotional, financial and psychological concerns associated with having a child with Down syndrome. A social worker can act as a liaison between the patient, family, health care team and community agencies.
An occupational therapist specializes in fine motor and sensory issues for children with Down syndrome. This includes sensory integration related to daily living skills (feeding, dressing, self-care, play and leisure activities), fine motor skills, visual motor skills and visual perception, as well as social skill concerns. An occupational therapist assesses the unique needs of a child with Down syndrome, provides assessment, consultation, treatment recommendations and acts as a liaison between the patient, family, health care and school team within the community.
A registered dietitian works with feeding therapists and families to achieve optimal nutrition when feeding problems are present. The dietitian also helps children with Down syndrome with weight management issues and maintaining a desirable weight.
A speech-language pathologist who specializes in feeding and swallowing disorders is also available when there is concern about a child’s delays in oral-motor or oral-sensory development, oral intake, food refusal, picky eating, poor weight gain, and/or swallowing problems.
Subspecialists at Children's Hospital Colorado
At the Sie Center, your child receives a full spectrum of care from experts right within our hospital. In addition to the team members mentioned above, we also partner with The Aerodigestive Program, The Breathing Institute, The Heart Institute, The Neurosciences Institute, The Department of Endocrinology, The Digestive Institute and The Department of Otolaryngology.