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Down Syndrome: Helping Your Child Learn to Walk and Use Other Motor Skills - Topic Overview

Children with Down syndrome have reduced muscle tone, which can delay development of their motor skills. Children with delays may roll over, sit up, pull up, stand, and walk later than other children their age.

Encourage motor skill development through active play.

  • Place toys just out of your child's reach and encourage him or her to get them. But do not frustrate your child by moving the toy when he or she almost reaches it.
  • Play pat-a-cake with your baby.
  • Place your baby's legs so that they are touching when you are carrying or holding him or her. This will encourage the normal leg positioning that is needed for sitting and walking.
  • Ask other members of the family to play games with your child so that your child moves around. For example, play ball games or chasing games.
  • Let your child bang pots and slap his or her hands on the table at times.

Guide your baby in playful exercises, which helps him or her learn to walk.

  • Move your baby's arms and legs in swimming motions.
  • Gently bounce your baby on your lap while holding him or her in a standing position.
  • Help your baby roll over so that he or she can become stronger and more mobile.
  • Support your baby in a sitting position, but let him or her lean forward for balance.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 01, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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