Like every mother, mothers of children with Down Syndrome are looking forward to the first words of their children to spill in their mouths. Of course, language development is delayed a little in children with Down Syndrome. Most of the time, families may have to struggle with different health problems in the postpartum period and they start to follow the developmental steps a little late. In this case, there is no need to blame ourselves and feel guilty, because it is natural that we cannot do anything else in the face of life-threatening danger.
Many of the children with Down Syndrome can develop close to their peers if they go through a good education. Of course, we know this is difficult. This process is very tiring for financial and moral families.
Children with Down Syndrome start to say their first words at about 18 months and can understand around 20-50 words during this period. Their transition to two-word sentences is more dependent on the development of children. While there are children who can form sentences at the age of two and a half, there are also children who switch to new sentences when they are four years old. At this point, trainings and environmental support are very important. So what should we do as mothers at home?
Like all children, children with Down Syndrome need some pre-skills to start speaking. Of course, these skills need to be studied with these children. First of all, we need to support communication skills. Here we go..
View your child’s every move and behavior as an attempt to communicate. When he raises his hand, he thinks, ‘Did you say come to me, I came, the mother came’, when he raises his foot, ‘Let’s play the ball, let’s hit the ball with our feet’, throw the ball or balloon on his foot and he thinks, ‘I get a reaction when I do something’. So he will be more willing to express. Let’s do this over and over…
Let’s imitate his every move, repeatedly, without getting tired. When he lifts his foot, you lift it, when he extends his hand, he stretches it out, when he puckers his mouth, you shrink too….. By doing this, we are trying to both imitate and take turns. Don’t miss anything he does.
Teach rejection and acceptance at the earliest stage. When something she doesn’t want, catch it and immediately shake your head, ‘no uhmm’ and don’t do that thing she doesn’t want. Rejecting, seeing that it is in his own hands not to be exposed to what he does not want will strengthen the child. Of course, in the meantime, we worked on imitation of movement.
Start demonstrating social communication skills at the earliest stage. ‘bye-bye, hello, come-come-come’
This is what we will do in the earliest period.
When our child gets a little older, their needs will differ, but you will see that they are still not ready to speak, to say their first words. In this period, there will be pre-skills for the speech that we will focus on.
Eye contact is very important at all times. This is a basic skill that will support our child’s visual perception. Even if you don’t have any trouble doing this, always put eye contact between your goals. Do not miss her gaze while she is rocking on your feet, bouncing in your lap, sitting on the floor. Sometimes wearing a clown nose, sticking stickers on your face… will attract more attention. Of course, the ce-eee game played by our grandmothers is a life saver.
Eye contact will be followed by visual tracking. He will try to follow you, a toy, but maybe not quite right. While sitting on the floor, taking a sounding animal toy in your hand and running it slowly and then a little faster, throwing a colored-light object from high, hiding the toy and taking it out with excitement will both amuse him and increase his visual pursuit.
Of course, auditory tracking will begin to develop in auditory perception and will develop better and faster with your help. A salutation that attracts attention when you enter the room, hiding the sound toys and then picking them up in your lap and following the sound to find the toy, making a sound and waiting for it to return to you, using different tones (like a thick tone when you say bark to the dog, but a thin tone when you say chick go out), accompany the songs with enthusiasm. It will help him recover his auditory perception.
Imitation will be very, very important in every period. When his auditory attention starts to develop, don’t miss his different sounds this time. Do different sound games, such as coughing, sneezing, being surprised, over and over. For example, the sound imitation game I use the most is to call all the animals one by one as ‘oooooooooooo’. We call the animal, the animal comes, kisses us or tickles us, then a new one comes…