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Early Motor Development in Down Syndrome: Part 1

presented by Kathy Martin

Accreditation Check:

Children with Down syndrome have known gross motor delays. The neuromuscular and musculoskeletal factors that contribute to these delays will be reviewed in addition to discussing peer-reviewed literature that has become the gold standard for predicting when children with Down syndrome will acquire specific motor milestones. Suggestions will be offered for using this data to help educate parents about realistic expectations for motor development for their child.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Kathy Martin, PT, DHSc

    Dr. Martin received a BA in Athletic Training from Purdue University in 1987, an MS in Physical Therapy from the University of Indianapolis in 1990, and a Doctor of Health Science from the University of Indianapolis in 2003. She joined the faculty of the Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis in 2000, and is currently a Professor. Her clinical background includes early intervention and inpatient pediatric general acute care. Dr. Martin teaches the pediatric portion of the DPT curriculum, and her research efforts have been focused on orthotic effectiveness, and children with Down syndrome. Dr. Martin is currently the Chair of the Education Committee for the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy and has been actively involved in identifying best practices in pediatric physical therapy professional education. She is also the 2008 winner of the Indiana Chapter of the APTA Frances Ekstam Award for outstanding contribution to the physical therapy profession.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Key Features of Down syndrome

    1. Key Features of Down syndrome

    This chapter will review the key features of Down syndrome. Prevalence of these features and pathophysiology of various body systems will be discussed with an emphasis on relevance to physical therapy and acquisition of gross motor skills.

  2. Prognosis for Motor Development

    2. Prognosis for Motor Development

    Prognostication is one of the most difficult tasks for physical therapists. This chapter will review the peer-reviewed literature on prognosis for motor skill acquisition for young children with Down syndrome. Additional factors that affect prognosis but are not addressed in the literature will also be discussed.

  3. Parent Perspective

    3. Parent Perspective

    In this chapter, Dr. Kathy Martin is joined by a parent of a child with Down syndrome and will discuss motor development from a parent's perspective.

  4. Physical Therapist's Role in Parent Education

    4. Physical Therapist's Role in Parent Education

    Parents frequently ask physical therapists about when their child will achieve specific motor milestones, such as walking independently. This can be a difficult question given that every child with Down syndrome is unique. This chapter will offer suggestions on how to address this sensitive topic with parents.