According to the CDC Down syndrome continues to be the most common chromosomal disorder. Each year about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome, which is about 1 in every 700 babies born. Parents, early intervention teams, and schools can help babies and children with Down syndrome improve their physical and intellectual abilities.

Although most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate impairments, they are also very similar to other children. They have their own unique strengths and talents. It is important to remember that children with Down syndrome have feelings just like anyone else.


The Mayo Clinic provides the following definition of Down syndrome:

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. This genetic disorder, which varies in severity, causes lifelong intellectual disability and developmental delays, and in some people it causes health problems.

Early Intervention:

At-risk infant or toddler means an individual under three years of age who would be at risk of experiencing a substantial developmental delay if early intervention services were not provided to the individual. (34 C.F.R. Section 303.5; 20 U.S.C. Section 1432(1))

Early intervention is a system of services designed to help infants and toddlers with disabilities (before their 3rd birthday) and their families. (34 C.F.R. Section 303.13; 20 U.S.C. Section 1432(4) Early intervention is designed to assist with physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional, or adaptive development.

The National Society of Down Syndrome recognizes that research indicates that early intervention improves outcomes for children with Down syndrome. Under 20 U.S.C. Section 1436 an infant or toddler with a disability receives a multi-disciplinary assessment to identify the strengths and needs of the infant or toddler in a effort to identify the services appropriate to meet the child’s unique needs. Once the assessment is completed, a multidisciplinary team, including the parents, develops what is known as an Individualized Family Services Plan, or IFSP. The IFSP is similar to the IEP. Early intervention services may be provided on a sliding-fee basis, meaning that the costs to the family will depend upon their income.

To identify the EI program in your neighborhood, contact your child’s pediatrician. Your local school district’s special education office may also have the information.

School-Aged Children

IDEA requires the public school system to become responsible for educating the child with Down syndrome and addressing the child’s unique needs after his or her 3rd birthday. Children with Down syndrome are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Children with Down syndrome experience various degrees of developmental delays. Once the assessments are complete, it is important for the IEP team to meet to discuss the unique needs of each child with Down syndrome. The legal rights and limitations are the same under IDEA for a child with Down syndrome and other disabilities.


Should you have any further questions, please contact Kristin Springer at specialedlegaljourney@comcast.net.

(Note: This Blog/Web Site is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The website has been designed to be a resource for information on matters that might be of interest to current or potential clients but does not establish that relationship. For further information visit my Disclaimer page- https://specialedlegaljourney.com/about/disclaimer/)



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