Down syndrome is a consequence of a genetic error, affecting one of every 700-800 newborns. At the time of conception, a child inherits half of the father’s and half of the mother’s chromosome complement. If, instead of 46 chromosomes, a child receives one additional chromosome to the 21 pairs, he would develop with a number of typical signs.
Most often, Down syndrome is diagnosed right after birth: a newborn has small head, inward slant of the eyes, flattened face features and back of the head, short neck and limbs. The child’s palms have only one deep lateral crease, and the thumb is pointed far to the side. A child with Down syndrome has general muscle hypotonia, and often, congenital pathology or disorder of internal organs.
Down syndrome leads to a substantial delay of the child’s physical, sexual, mental, motoric and speech development. One cannot foretell how an ill child would develop. Early comprehensive efforts of the parents and specialists are hugely important for correction of this disorder, helping the child learn to be as independent as possible.
Today, parents and doctors can choose among the numerous advanced treatment methods. For instance, animal-assisted therapy is distinguishable for formation of an especially trusting contact between the child and the specially trained animal. If the learning process takes the form of a game, the child’s interest becomes focused and his tiredness declines. Close contact with an animal helps a child with Down syndrome develop motoric skills, train weak muscles, expand horizons and improve psycho-emotional state.
Dolphin therapy stands out among other promising animal-assisted learning programs. Playing and swimming with dolphins help the child feel wonderful tactile contact, develop the child’s muscular sling, motoric and speech skills. Sonar ultrasound has positive effect on the central nervous system; it strengthens immunity and improves functioning of internal organs and endocrine glands.
Sessions with dolphins teach an ill child not to be dependent on outside assistance. The child memorizes positive models of behavior in an unfamiliar environment, and afterwards, would find it easier to get adapted in life.
Special early development programs, including dolphin therapy, offer professional help to parents and facilitate social adaptation of children with Down syndrome.