Typically, children with Down syndrome experience delays in certain areas of development, so early intervention is recommended. It can begin anytime after birth, but the sooner it starts, the better. However, there is no single, standard treatment for Down syndrome. Treatments are based on each child’s physical and intellectual needs as well as his or her personal strengths and limitations. So does early intervention help my child with Down syndrome?
Generally speaking, yes. Children with Down syndrome are responsive to environmental influences and do best in homes that provide love, care, a lot of stimulation, and a multitude of experiences. Preparation and implementation of special activities can be advantageous to both parents and young children. Not only does this all make the days more enjoyable, it also prevents the possibility of your child developing more slowly because of the lack of the necessary encouragement and stimulation needed.
Early intervention should begin soon after birth, and it should continue until your child reaches the age of three. An amendment to the U.S. Department of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 permits each state to have early intervention programs that last until your child starts Kindergarten.
Speech and language therapy is a major part of early intervention. Even though babies with Down syndrome may not say their first words until the ages of two or even three, there are many pre-speech and pre-language skills that they must acquire first.
Your child’s development is an ongoing process that moves through stages in a methodical manner. There are precise milestones in each development area, including the advancement of gross and fine motor abilities, language skills, social development and self-support proficiencies that serve as fundamentals for the stages that follow.
Children are usually expected to attain each milestone at an assigned time, which can be calculated in terms of weeks, months or years. Because of the challenges connected with Down syndrome, babies will possibly experience delays in particular developmental areas. However, they will realize each of the same milestones as other children, just on their own pace. In observing the development of your child with Down syndrome, it is more useful to look at the arrangement of milestones achieved, rather than the age at which the milestone is reached.
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American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
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