If you are a parent who has given birth to a child with down syndrome, starting with occupational therapy from birth is a great way to teach some independence and communication. Occupational therapists help with self-feeding skills, fine motor skills, and more, many of which are more challenging in development for children with down syndrome. Here are the stages of occupational therapy for children with down syndrome:
At this stage, your child is going to be going through many milestones that will require some direction. This includes self-feeding, and even simply attachment during breast or bottle feeding. You can also help with the establishment of crawling, walking, rolling over, and more. Because of the common joint muscle weakness, this is definitely going to be needed for any child with down syndrome.
At this stage, you can expect speech therapy to start. You can also rely heavily on your occupational therapist for helping you teach your child independence through play. There are many different types of toys and activities that help your child with developmental growth despite their weaker joint muscles. You can also learn tips and techniques for teaching your child to use spoons, forks, and to drink out of cups.
Once your child does enter the school system, they will need regular occupational therapy sessions to help them learn many of the skills needed in school, such as printing, speech, more advanced fine motor skills, and more. As a parent, you will also learn how to help your child do more things on their own, such as getting dressed. At this point, certain sensory skills that need more development will be worked on as well. All kids, even those with down syndrome, develop differently, so there may be certain issues that your child has that differ from another child. All this can be corrected with occupational therapy.
An occupational therapist can really be helpful for kids with down syndrome and even the parents who may be struggling with the process of helping their child develop through everyday activities at home. This is especially challenging for working parents, which is when regular occupational therapy sessions really become more helpful because your child will learn independence that may be more challenge for a working parent to guide their children with. Working with the occupational therapist in your child's development is really the best thing for your child no matter what.
For more information, contact a center such as ABC Pediatric Therapy.