Background and Aims Down Syndrome (DS) is the most important genetic cause of intellectual disability. No consensus exists on the specific type and timing of early intervention in this population. Studies on animal models support the beneficial effects of environmental enrichment (EE). Infant Massage (IM) is a good human paradigm of EE. We aim to determine the effects of early EE in young infants with DS.
Methods 12 subjects were randomized in two intervention groups: GroupA received a bi-monthly counseling intervention and includes 5 infants- GroupB in addition to the counseling intervention, the infants received IM performed by a parents; includes 7 infants. A structured family counseling consisting of observation of parent-child interaction in emotional aspects and developmental skills. The study -group B receive an additional intervention based on IM.
Main Outcome Measures Dubowitz Infant Neurological assessment, Prechtl’s method; Teller acuity cards, Frisby Stereotest; Parent to Infant Attachment Scale, Parental Stress Index; Griffiths Developmental Mental Scales.
Preliminary Results Motor milestones: upright posture at GroupB 11.3 months, GroupA 12.5 months, crawling GroupB 11.7 months, GroupA 13.5 months; coastal shipping GroupB 14.5 months, GroupA 15 months.
Cognitive level GroupB (QS Total 75.3 GroupA (QS Total 71.5); stereopsis in GroupB (5 months) GroupA (6 months) visual acuity in GroupB (12.5 cy/cm at 12 months) GroupA (10.3 cy/cm at 12 months).
Conclusion In the group of massaged infant seems to obtain better results in motor milestones and in cognitive development, faster maturation of stereopsis, a increase of visual acuity have been also reached.