Healthcare Guidelines

The First Year

American Academy of Pediatrics Healthcare Guidelines for Children with Down syndrome (Download PDF)

Birth – Three Months

Enjoy, love, and nurture your new precious baby! They are a true gift and already have amazing potential!
• Locate a pediatrician (if not already done so) and find out all you can about the medical needs of your child.
• Contact the Child Development Services Agency (Charlotte, Shelby/Gaston or resident county); they will schedule your child for an assessment or evaluation of their development. This will identify specific needs to address with a variety of available services in the near future - such as physical therapy.
• Request a full cardiac evaluation (if not already done in the hospital) to address any
heart concerns or issues common with children with DS.
• Locate a focus group for family and child connections in your new journey (DSAC,
The Arc, and other local service providers).

By Six Months
• Use the Child Development Services Agency (CDSA) to assist in selecting a service
provider/case manager; this person will be your family’s direct contact for all of the
needed services your child requires for their development. They will ensure that all needs are met with available resources.
• Complete the developmental evaluation through your local CDSA. This evaluation will help you determine if/when you child should start physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
• The case manager will assist in creating a developmental plan of goals for your child to work on (IFSP - Individualized Family Service Plan). Realistic goals will be
established for your child, for example, building upper body strength for stability in
sitting up, head control, etc. that can be worked on at home, in daycare, etc.
• Therapy doesn’t have to be serious…have fun with your baby! You can address many of your therapy goals in ordinary activities – Mommy
& Me, Gymboree, YMCA infant swim classes, etc. Be creative!
• Follow the DS Healthcare Guidelines ( and have a BAER
hearing test by three months of age. Referral to ENT doctor if hard to see inside baby’s ears. Request baby’s first eye exam and repeat
thyroid screening at six months.

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