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Guidance for Parents Navigating Down Syndrome

Sep 18th, 2013 | by NAPA Team

NAPA Team

September 18th, 2013

Don’t Believe the Stereotypes, Believe in Your Child

If your child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, it is important to find support and access resources.

  • Seek out other families of children with Down syndrome
  • Find support groups through social media, like the NAPA Australia Parent Group on Facebook
  • Utilise support groups in your area
  • Arm yourself with the best team of medical and therapy professionals you can
  • Contact your state’s early intervention resource centre such as https://westsiderc.org/.

As members of society, individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving homes, education, positive public attitudes, and a supportive community environment.

When raising children with Down syndrome, the overall priority should be no different than teaching and raising any child. They should be developing new skills, learning appropriate behaviors, and aiming to achieve the highest level of independence. In this blog, we share some helpful tips for parents of a child with Down syndrome.

 

  • Learn about DS. The more you know, the more you can help you and your child.
  • Love and play with your child. Take your child places, read together, and have fun together. Provide your child with as many opportunities for him or her to do these things.
  • Have high expectations for your child. Be enthusiastic and encouraging.
  • Encourage your child to be independent (i.e. getting dressed, grooming, etc.)
  • Give your child chores, but make sure to consider his or her capacity, attention span, and abilities. Divide tasks into small steps. Explain each step to your child until the chore is completed. Children with DS are visual learners, so demonstrating an action for them can really help them connect what they are learning.
  • Offer your help when needed and provide immediate positive reinforcement when him or her produces a correct response.
  • If your child makes a mistake, do not say, “that’s wrong.” Instead, ask him or her to try again, or give your child the correct response and have him or her repeat it. Immediate corrective feedback is more effective than delayed.
  • Work with the professionals who are working with your child. Participate in the planning of your child’s education and therapy, share your knowledge of who your child is, and promote addressing your child’s specific needs and not the label of DS.
  • Find out what your child is learning at school and look for ways to incorporate it at home.
  • Be flexible with achieving goals (i.e. if your child has difficulty writing with a pencil, teach him or her to write using a computer)
  • Present only a few stimuli/objects at a time
  • Ask your child to repeat or rephrase instructions to make sure him or her has understood the task at hand
  • Look for social opportunities in your community. This will not only help your child develop social skills but also to have fun!

Be patient and hopeful. Your child has their whole life ahead of them to learn and grow.

Most of all, give as much love and support to your child. Just like any one else, that’s what they need the most!

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