If your child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, you’ll need a number of different specialists involved in their care.
One of them is a speech therapist near me, since speech and language difficulties are not uncommon for children with Down syndrome.
Due to their unique DNA code, children with Down syndrome often develop numerous characteristics which may inhibit their ability to speak, such as:
- Low facial muscle tone
- A comparatively large tongue
- Frequent ear infections
- Slower learning capabilities
At Sol Speech and Language Therapy, we know how important the ability to communicate is for childhood development.
Keep reading to find out more about how Down syndrome can affect your child’s speech, and how speech therapy can help.
What Is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that happens due to a chromosomal abnormality.
It is the most common genetic disorder in the United States.
During reproduction, each parent passes on some of their genes to the developing baby.
These genes are carried within structures known as chromosomes.
During normal development, your baby gets 46 chromosomes – 23 from each parent.
But with babies who have Down syndrome, it’s different.
Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of their 21st chromosome, which affects their development.
Down syndrome can cause numerous physical and mental developmental delays and disabilities.
However, with the proper support, people with Down syndrome are capable of living meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Types Of Down Syndrome
There are three different types of Down syndrome.
Let’s take a look at them.
With mosaicism, your baby has an extra copy of their 21st chromosome in some, but not all, of their cells.
Mosaicism tends to have fewer and less severe symptoms than others.
With translocation, your child has 46 chromosomes, but their 21st chromosome has an extra piece attached.
Trisomy 21 is the most common subtype.
It occurs when every cell has an extra copy of chromosome 21.
Down Syndrome Symptoms
Down syndrome doesn’t cause any symptoms during pregnancy.
In some cases, you might not realize your child has Down syndrome until they’re born.
At birth, babies with Down syndrome often have the following characteristics:
- Flat facial features
- Small head and ears
- Short neck
- Bulging tongue
- Eyes that slant upwards
- Atypically shaped ears
- Poor muscle tone
People with Down syndrome are at higher risk of other medical complications as well, such as:
- Congenital heart defects
- Chronic ear infections
- Hearing loss
- Poor vision
- Hip problems
- Chronic constipation
- Sleep apnea
- Late tooth growth
- Alzheimer’s disease
In terms of speech and language difficulties, children with Down syndrome often have speech milestone developmental delays which can significantly impact their communication skills.
Short attention span, poor judgement, and impulsive behavior can all make it difficult for children with Down syndrome to develop their speech and language skills.
How To Help Your Down Syndrome Child Learn Language
Since children spend more time with their primary caregivers than anyone else, parents play the biggest role in their child’s speech and language development.
There are many techniques you can practice with your child at home to help them improve their speech and language skills.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
1. Speak To Them Often
Children love to copy the adults around them.
That’s why speaking to children with Down syndrome can be helpful in helping them develop their communication skills.
Speaking to your child regularly can also help them build their vocabulary and better understand the context of the words being spoken to them.
2. …And Repeat Yourself When You Do
All children learn best through repetition.
Repeating a word that you’re trying to teach your child can help them remember what it sounds like.
3. Read Aloud To Them
Reading to children helps them develop language, and that’s especially true for kids with Down syndrome.
For one, showing your child the words of a book as you read can help them associate the written word with the sound.
Other benefits of reading a child with Down syndrome include increased creativity, improved concentration, and better cognitive development.
4. Reference Tangible Things
Some children with Down syndrome learn better when they are able to reference a real object.
For example, teaching your child the names of playground equipment while at the park can better help them associate the word with a visual cue.
5. Let Them Take The Lead
Like every child, children with Down syndrome learn better when they’re learning about a topic that interests them.
Try incorporating your child’s favorite toys, people, pets, or events into the learning.
Exploring your child’s interests can provide additional opportunities for speech development.
How Can Speech Therapy For Down Syndrome Help?
A qualified speech therapist can provide many benefits for children with Down syndrome.
Speech therapists frequently work with children with Down syndrome and are knowledgeable about the unique challenges that they face.
Speech therapy can help your child with Down syndrome to:
- Work around their hearing issues if they have them
- Be able to feed themselves
- Improve oral motor skills
- Build their vocabulary
- Improve reading and writing skills
- And much more
Book Your Appointment With Sol Speech And Language Therapy Today
At Sol Speech and Language Therapy, we want to help children with Down syndrome overcome their speech and language difficulties.
If you’re the parent or caregiver of a child with Down syndrome and are looking into speech therapy, we can help.
6448 E Hwy 290 Suite E-106,
Austin, TX 78723
Sol Speech & Language Therapy
555 Round Rock W Dr E-221,
Round Rock, TX 78681
Sol Speech & Language Therapy offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.