Maybe your first reaction to the news of having a child with Down Syndrome was fear and dread. Now you realize your little one is a loving gift to you and the entire family. He or she may look somewhat different than other children, be slower to develop certain skills, but they will enjoy a happy productive life with a little extra help.
Build Your Own Support System
This may sound selfish, but you need a support system of friends and family. Getting some assistance with care-giving is not a bad thing, and it can actually help to make you a better parent as you have more time and energy to devote to your little one.
Express any challenges you have and give others ideas of how they can help. Don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy to stay on track with your own health too.
Don’t Compare Your Child’s Milestones With Others
There are set milestones for most children, but a child with Down Syndrome will have delays. Sitting upright, walking, standing, and saying their first word will all come in time. They will achieve them, just a little later on.
Pay more attention to the sequence of skills achieved rather than the age they acquire them.
Take Advantage of Early Intervention from Suburban Pediatrics
The first few years of any child’s life is critical for developing the skills needed for a happy and productive life. A child with Down Syndrome is no different and will greatly benefit from early intervention to help them reach these developmental stages more quickly than they may be able to achieve on their own. Most states provide early intervention services for both you and your child, and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act mandates that these resources must be made available to qualifying individuals.
Physical therapy is of utmost importance for developing other skills. Have your child begin a program of exercise therapy including physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy.
The goal of early intervention is to enhance and accelerate development. The benefits of early intervention include developing:
- Gross and fine motor skills like head control, getting to a sitting position, moving and reaching for desired objects, rolling over, and crawling to name just a few
- Language skills and communication
- Social development like playing and interacting with other children
- Occupational therapy helps to master skills like opening and closing things, picking up and letting go of objects, stacking, building, and handling crayons
Above All, Look for the Beauty in Your Child
Eventually you may completely forget that your child has Down Syndrome. She or he will simply be your child with all their positive and negative emotions, including ups and downs like every other child. Let go of all the stereotypes, and focus on giving your child all the love and support they need as they grow.
Contact Suburban Pediatrics if you have a child with Down Syndrome who could benefit from our many types of developmental therapy!
As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (716) 565-9030 today!