Down Syndrome: At Home Activities for Children with Down Syndrome

If your child has Down syndrome, or if your infant will be born with Down syndrome, you�re probably interested in activities that are appropriate for kids with Down syndrome.

Games and Activities

There are a variety of activities and games that you as a mom can engage in with your child in order to help her develop important life skills.

Good games for a child with Down syndrome include games that require picking up small objects using the thumb and forefinger, such as board games with small playing pieces, because they help improve manual dexterity. Games or activities that use tongs or tweezers will also help your child develop strong motor skills. Lead by example, showing your child how to use these instruments in creative games; put pebbles or small plastic fish at the bottom of a small bowl and �fish� them out.

Practice other important skills with your child, such as using scissors and a pencil. Make fun crafts together such as mice lollipops. Draw pictures together to hang on the refrigerator. These activities are really simple and fun, but the benefits they can bring to your child are invaluable.

Simple jigsaw puzzles are another great activity idea for your special needs child. Break down this, and similar tasks, into small, achievable steps; it is also helpful to teach the last step first, for example, putting the last piece of the puzzle into place.

Physical activity is essential to good health, and maintaining a healthy weight. Simple activities, like walking and helping to rake leaves, can also develop important motor skills.

Schooling Your Down Syndrome Child

Some moms opt to homeschool their special needs child. The benefits of homeschooling your Down syndrome child include:

  • one-on-one teaching that isn�t often possible in public schools
  • as your child�s teacher, you also know his needs best
  • having more control over your child�s socialization; this can also reduce your child�s exposure to peer pressure or bullying

If you prefer to send your child to public school, know that this also has benefits for your special needs child, including:

  • interacting with other children
  • learning about a place outside of the home environment
  • having an extra support system outside of the home, including teachers and other students

Make sure that there is consistent communication between home and school. Talk to your child�s teachers about her progress at school and about her special needs. Reinforce skills your child learns at school, including reading and writing.

Speech Development

As a mom, you can also help your child�s speech development. Practice vocabulary using fun, repetitive songs; read your child�s favorite stories and let her read along, even if she is not yet able. If speech is delayed, work with a speech pathologist to develop a sign or symbol system; this shouldn�t replace verbal communication, but enhance non-verbal communication.

Toilet Training

Toilet training your special needs child can pose its own unique challenges. Associate potty time with another daily routine; for example, have your child go to the potty after a snack or before going outside to play.

Remember to set realistic, short-term goals that will let your child feel proud of her achievements. No step is a small one. Be patient and vigilant in your child�s development and she will grow to be a happy, well-balanced child.

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