As discussed previously, individuals with Down Syndrome don’t need a cure in order to overcome developmental challenges and still achieve in life. Many of the perceived limitations that Down Syndrome is supposed to bring can be mitigated by early intervention.
That said, there is still certainly a degree of confusion as to the exact expectations to have. Some might have seen a person with DS learn to speak clearly and hope the same will be for their child. Others think that such expectations are too much and believe that those with problematic speech patterns are the norm.
This is what happens when people based their assumptions on the idea that all those with DS have the exact same traits. In reality though, this is definitely not the case and achieving developmental milestones will always be a lot easier if parents treated every person with DS as a unique individual.
Doing so can better establish what specific area of development they can work on and with healthier expectations. Though speaking of which, here’s a quick list of areas that people with Down Syndrome still have a good chance to succeed in (even if development is delayed).
1. Language and Communication
A child’s developing brain is always picking up sound, even if it doesn’t look like they understand most of what they are hearing. This is generally the primary cause for delays in language learning and communication.
The good news is that some forms of early intervention certainly work on a child’s listening ability in early stages. In these stages, the brain is still capable of altering and adapting its structure (even when hampered by disability). These programs generally work by exercising the child’s ability to be alert and observant to the sounds they are hearing. And once they are able to better understand what they hear, the better they can also be able to speak!
2. Physical Movement and Gross Motor Skills
Contrary to popular opinion, Down Syndrome isn’t really a condition that leads to complete inability to move properly. It is still very possible for them to learn how to walk and even perform various physical exercises. The only real challenge their condition poses is usually poor muscle tone.
And through early intervention, a lot of these problems can still be overcome with enough encouragement from parents and support from professionals. Furthermore, whatever physical difficulty they may have does not necessarily dissuade them from interacting with the environment. Parents are therefore also encouraged to still give children with Down Syndrome plenty of space to move around on their own.
3. Social and Behavioural Skills
Surprisingly enough, the social skills of individuals with Down Syndrome is actually an area where they are known to have the least difficulty. That means that despite whatever challenges they have in communication, problem-solving or even movement, they are very capable of interacting with other people as soon as they overcome their difficulties.
As a result, it is very important to not underestimate their ability to pick up social cues and other forms of non-verbal communication. Misunderstandings often occur when a person with Down Syndrome struggles to express themselves, even though they already know what they mean. Hence, it is highly recommended that early intervention with communication goes hand in hand with social interaction.
Much like other disabilities, Down Syndrome generates a lot of anxiety but not always for the correct reasons. There is still a lack of awareness of exactly how the condition creates delays, and more importantly how these delays can still be addressed with intervention!
f you need any advice or support, then know that we at the Australian Tomatis Method are still here to help you. Please reach out if you need to, either by email at email@example.com or by phone to Francoise at 0414 444 915.