As a parent of a child with
Down syndrome, you play an important role in helping
your child reach his or her full potential. You and your child will have challenges and
Babies and young children
Your child will likely take more time than
other children to reach certain milestones. But his or her achievements are just as
significant and exciting to watch. Be patient, and encourage your young child as he or she learns.
- Walking and other motor development milestones. You
can help your baby and young child strengthen muscles through directed play. As
your child gets older, you can work with a
physical therapist and your doctor to design an
exercise program to help your child maintain and increase muscle strength and
- Self-feeding. You can help your child
learn to eat independently by sitting down together at meals. Use gradual steps
to teach your child how to eat. Start with allowing your child to eat with
his or her fingers and offering thick liquids to drink.
- Dressing. Teach your child how to dress himself or
herself by taking extra time to explain and practice.
- Communicating. Simple measures, such as looking at
your baby while speaking or showing and naming objects, can help your baby
learn to talk.
- Grooming and hygiene. Help your child learn the importance of being clean and looking
his or her best. Establish a daily routine for bathing and getting ready. As
your child gets older, this will become increasingly important. Gradually add
new tasks to the routine, such as putting on deodorant.
Encourage your child to learn, socialize, and be physically active. For example, enroll your child in
classes with other children of the same age. Think of ways you can stimulate
your child's thinking skills without making tasks too difficult. But know
that it is okay for your child to be challenged and sometimes fail.
Enroll your young child (infant
through age 3) in an early-intervention program. These programs have staff who
are trained to monitor and encourage your child's development. Talk with a
doctor about programs in your area.
Keep encouraging your child to learn, socialize, and be physically active. Here are some tips:
- Be involved with your
child's education. Most children who have Down syndrome can
be included in a regular classroom. Your child may need an adapted curriculum
and may sometimes attend special classes.
- Know that your child has a legal right to education. These laws also protect your rights as a parent to
be fully informed about or to challenge educational decisions concerning your
- Be active with your child. This will help your child feel better, whether or not he or she has weight problems. To learn more, see: