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Infant with Down syndrome at therapy for early intervention.

The first three years of life will be a critical time in your baby's development. All young children go through the most rapid and developmentally significant changes during this time. During these early years,they achieve the basic physical, cognitive, language, social and self-help skills that lay the foundation for future progress, and these abilities are attained according to predictable developmental patterns. Children with Down syndrome typically face delays in certain areas of development, so early intervention is critical. It can begin anytime after birth, but the sooner it starts, the better.

Early intervention is a systematic program of therapy, exercises and activities designed to address developmental delays that may be experienced by children with Down syndrome or other disabilities. These services are mandated by a federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law requires that states provide early intervention services for all children who qualify, with the goal of enhancing the development of infants and toddlers and helping families understand and meet the special needs of their children. The most common early intervention services for babies with Down syndrome are physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.