Part II: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Adolescents and Young Adults With Down Syndrome: 12-21 Years

Susan Van Cleve, MSN, RN, CPNP; Sheila Cannon, MEd; William I. Cohen, MD


J Pediatr Health Care. 2006;20(3):198-205. 

In This Article

Physical Examination

Growth parameters (height and weight) should be charted using growth charts for typical children and for children with DS. Height for weight should be plotted on a typical growth chart. Body mass index should be calculated, and the individual should be monitored for obesity.

A general neurologic, neuromotor, and musculoskeletal examination should be performed with every routine visit, including evaluation for signs of spinal cord compression, including gait disturbance, sensory symptoms such as sensory loss and paraesthesia, tendon reflexes that are increased below level of compression, or sphincter disturbances.

  • Perform Tanner staging for boys and girls.

  • Perform a careful cardiac examination assessing for evidence of valvular disease.

  • Perform a skin examination for dry skin or any other skin problems.

  • Perform a pelvic examination and screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if the patient is sexually active. Adolescent health care providers may provide treatment for menstrual regulation.


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