Speech Therapy for Down Syndrome

Speech therapy for Down Syndrome

Most children with Down Syndrome will be delayed in acquiring speech and language skills. That is not to say that they won’t learn speech and language, they just learn at a little bit later age.

How we communicate

Communication skills are an important part of daily life. People do not only communicate through speech but also through things such as facial expressions, gestures, sign language, smiling and pointing. Your child will likely learn to communicate with you using one of these alternate methods first.


Receptive vs. Expressive Language

Most children with Down Syndrome have much better receptive than expressive language skills. This means that they will be able to understand what you are saying before they will be able to express themselves verbally. Sammy does not speak verbally yet, but his gestures, and signs, and facial expressions get his point across really well. His understanding of what we say (receptive language) continues to amaze me.


Therapy

Your child will likely need some form of speech therapy, beginning early on. It is important to get the evaluation done as soon as the doctor recommends, and to start therapy when recommended. There are many excellent private speech-language pathologists if you want to go that route. The early intervention programs offered in each state are also a great place to start. When your child goes to preschool he or she will likely receive therapy services there (according to his needs). Speech therapy for Down Syndrome is a bit different from speech therapy for other reasons. For this reason you should make sure your child's therapist has a good working knowledge of normal development as well as Down Syndrome development.

Always remember, gross and fine motor skills are the first steps to developing speech and language, so it is important to make sure your child receives those services as well.


How can I help my child’s speech?

Parents, siblings, relatives and friends play an important role in helping the child to develop speech and language.First you must know, even a weekly therapy session is not enough. The speech pathologist is there to guide you and instruct you in ways to help your child. Ultimately though, you are the ones who will work with him. In day to day life there are many things you can do to help. As stated in the “Einstein Syndrome” article, you should talk, talk, talk to him. Play speech enhancing videos or dvd's, audio tapes, and cd's. When you go out, talk to your child about his surroundings. Talk to him like you would any other baby, only more. So you see, speech therapy for Down Syndrome includes not only sessions with a therapist but it requires your participation as well. Never more will you take a first sound or first word for granted.

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Sign Language and Other Means of Communication

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**The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Rather, it is for educational and informational purposes only. You, the viewer, are responsible for obtaining health care for your child from his/her physician and other health care specialists. Always consult with your child's doctor before beginning any therapy programs.**