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How to raise a child with Down’s syndrome?

Down’s syndrome
Written by Publishing Team

As a parent, you need to make sure that you are happy and at peace so that you can raise your child in a happy, positive, and supportive environment. In the age of social media, you can also join support groups and communities and connect with other patients or relatives who are dealing with the disease and striving for a better chance at life.

What exactly is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic disease caused by alterations in chromosomes. The condition occurs when abnormal cell division occurs, which results in additional genetic material from chromosome 21.

The disorder results in facial appearance defects, intellectual disability, and developmental delays. While people with such conditions often face societal neglect and discrimination, what often goes unnoticed is that parenting such children can be extremely difficult. It takes patience, empathy, a positive attitude and more!

Down’s syndrome and its professional intervention:

Early intervention refers to a range of specialized programs and resources that professionals offer to children with Down’s syndrome and their families. These professionals may include special educators, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social workers. Research indicates that early intervention improves outcomes for children with Down syndrome. A variety of therapies can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a person’s life to promote the greatest possible development, independence and productivity.

Physiotherapy includes activities and exercises that help develop motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance.

Speech therapy can help children with Down’s syndrome improve their communication skills and use language more effectively.

Occupational therapy helps find ways to tailor daily tasks and conditions to a person’s needs and abilities.

Emotional and behavioral therapies aim to find helpful responses to desirable and undesirable behaviors.

Children with Down’s syndrome may become frustrated with difficulty communicating, may develop compulsive behaviors, and may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among other mental health issues. These specialist therapists try to understand why a child is acting, create ways and strategies to avoid or prevent these situations from happening, and teach better or more positive ways to respond to situations.

Tips for parents on raising a child with Down’s syndrome

The question that haunts parents when they find out their baby has Down syndrome is how to raise the child? Will we be able to raise the child? What to start with ? What are we supposed to do? What not to do? And the list continues!

Here we have some easy-to-follow parenting tips that will be your savior in helping you raise your child with Down syndrome:

Desire to learn: As a parent, proactively researching information on the topic will help you better educate your child. Researching, gathering information, and staying informed will help provide a better quality of care and life for your baby.

Plan it: In most cases, this condition is usually diagnosed before the baby is born, during routine prenatal checkups. Therefore, it is important that you see your doctor before birth and be prepared for what to expect. A baby about to be born with Down syndrome implies that he / she would need extra care and attention, and would have to stay extra days in the hospital under medical supervision. However, consultation with healthcare professionals and Down syndrome specialists should also continue beyond birth, to seek help and advice on raising these special babies with proper care and support. special attention!

Seeking medical assistance for your child: As a parent, you will need to understand that your baby is disabled and will need constant medical assistance. Babies with Down’s syndrome have difficulty growing and developing their physical and mental health. They are usually slow even in basic activities such as crawling, walking, talking, etc. Therefore, the best way to ensure that your parenting journey runs smoothly is to schedule regular visits with a doctor you can trust. With physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education, your baby’s growth and development can be stimulated and steered in the right direction!

Give your child the freedom to live their life: As babies grow older, they may feel limited due to the limitations placed on them due to their condition, as well as those imposed by you as a parent. This can make them feel that they cannot lead their lives according to their choices and could have a significant psychological impact on their mental health.

In such a scenario, there are times when you need to make sure you let go. You need to allow them to make their own choices and support them throughout. Simple decisions like letting them choose what to wear, what to eat, or where to go out will make them happy that their life is theirs! Moreover, letting them take certain risks and find out things for themselves will give them the confidence that they can lead independent lives even if they are special.

But you still need to make sure that you are there with them as a pillar of their strength and openly communicate with them about what they are experiencing and feeling. Supporting them and knowing when to give them freedom in the right places, and holding their hand in the right situations is essential as a parent!

Have a routine: The life expectancy of babies with Down’s syndrome increases when they have a fixed routine and a healthy lifestyle. Waking up and sleeping at fixed times, eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activities according to their convenience and health, studying as well as participating in extracurricular activities, all these basic steps will give them access to a better quality of life.

Self-care is the key: Parenting a baby with Down’s syndrome is a journey full of pitfalls! Juggling personal and professional life and with a disabled child can be exhausting for you on many levels. Therefore, it is important that you often take “time for me” for yourself and engage in therapeutic activities for yourself.

As the child grows, their needs and demands will also increase and change at the same time. Therefore, it is essential that you are happy and in the right frame of mind to handle all the responsibilities as well as your special child. You must understand that being pampered is not selfish and that you deserve it! Share your parenting journey, socialize and ask for outside help to care for the baby when and where it’s needed. Going for therapy if things are getting overwhelming or out of control for you is nothing to be ashamed of and can actually help you cope better with yourself, the baby, and the situation.

The bottom line is that your baby with Down’s syndrome is indeed a late baby and would need your love, support, and guidance at all stages of their life. Most importantly, therefore, you must understand and accept the fact that your child is special and needs help. You need to take care of yourself and the baby, and the key to raising a baby with Down’s syndrome is being gentle with yourself and the baby!

(By Shuchita Dua, Clinical Manager of Mom’s Belief)

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