Describe reasons why individuals may experience additional needs.

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Mia Nicole Lock                    BTEC N/D in Health and Social Care Year 2

Unit 26 – Karen James

Assignment 1

Caring for individuals with additional needs

P1. Describe reasons why individuals may experience additional needs.

There are many different factors that cause additional needs. Causes can be due to genetic, developmental, environmental, accident or other factors.

Genetic factors

Down syndrome is one of the most known genetic causes. It occurred in 23.81 per 10,000 births in the UK back in 2002 (University of Ulster, 2003)


Everyone has 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell, 46 altogether with one of each pair coming from the mother and father. For Down syndrome to be present an extra chromosome is formed taking their total to 47, professor Jerome Lejeune discovered this. Down syndrome was first described in 1866 by a Dr John Langdon Down; this is how Down syndrome got its name. This particular genetic factor is also present in a baby from the moment of conception.

The cause for the extra chromosome is still unknown and there is also no cure for the condition. Although it is not known why this happens, we do know that babies have a much higher risk of Down syndrome when they are born to older mothers.

(Karen James – Class Handout 2009 – Meeting additional requirements for children’s care, learning and development)

Down syndrome is easily identifiable at birth because they have distinct characteristic features such as -

  • Smaller head than normal (microcephaly)
  • Abnormally shaped head
  • Flattened nose
  • Protruding tongue
  • Upward slanted eyes
  • Inner corner of eyes may have a rounded fold of skin (epicanthal fold) rather than coming to a point
  • Short, broad hands with short fingers, often have a single crease in the palm
  • Normal growth and development is usually delayed
  • Most affected children never reach adult height


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The additional needs of people with Down syndrome

An individual who has Down syndrome and their family are supported by a team of professionals throughout their life. This team could include the family GP, paediatricians, midwives, health visitors, occupational and speech therapists and physiotherapists.

Additional healthcare needs


Illnesses and disorders that are commonly seen in babies and young children are seen more often in children with Down syndrome. These illnesses are treated in the same way as other children but children with Down syndrome are more at risk of catching these illnesses.

Children who are ...

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Star rating 3 This assignment describes reasons why individuals may experience additional needs. The work shows an understanding of these reasons. Down syndrome has been covered in detail. The remaining categories have been described but the descriptions of autism, meningitis and head injury could be extended to give some description of how the additional needs could be supported, as per the comments on the work. The assignment could be further improved by extending the introduction to include a definition of additional needs and the three categories physical needs, mental needs and learning needs. One other genetic condition could be covered such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell. Referencing has been provided, but this could be more specific in places and a reference list has not been produced.