Chromosomal conditions

chromosomal conditions (kroh-muh- SOHM-uhl kuhn-DI-shuhnz)
What it is: Health conditions caused by a problem in one or more of a baby’s chromosomes. Chromosomes are the structures in a person’s cells that hold genes. Genes store instructions for the way the body grows and works. Genes are passed from parents to children. Each child born with a chromosomal condition is different. A child with one of these conditions may have intellectual disabilities (problems with how the brain works that can cause a person to have trouble or delays in learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others) or physical defects, or both. Or a child may not have any serious problems. The condition depends on which chromosomes are affected and how.

Treatment: Many babies may need speech therapy (to help them talk), occupational therapy (to help them learn to do activities like holding things and feeding themselves), and physical therapy (to help improve their strength and coordination). These children are often eligible for early intervention programs in their first year. There are no cures for most chromosomal conditions.


Down syndrome
What it is: Also called Trisomy 21. A chromosomal condition (when a baby has a problem in one or more of his chromosomes) that includes a combination of birth defects. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth and change the shape or function of one or more parts of a baby’s body. A baby with Down syndrome may have some degree of:
• Intellectual and developmental disabilities (problems with how the brain works that can cause a person to have trouble or delays in physical development, learning, communicating, taking care of himself or getting along with others)
• Certain facial features
• Heart defects (a problem with the heart that is present at birth)
• Hearing and vision problems


Treatment: Some babies may need speech therapy (to help them talk), occupational therapy (to help them learn to do activities like holding things and feeding themselves), and physical therapy (to help improve their strength and coordination). There is no cure for Down syndrome.