Occupational Therapy for Babies with Down Syndrome

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Occupational Therapy is very reliable to treat the babies with down syndrome. With Occupational Therapy, the individuals with Down Syndrome will have a chance to develop and utilize their skills across the lifespan.

The babies with Down Syndrome may need more support to reach their developmental milestones. Reportedly, the life expectancy of the individual with Down Syndrome has increased in recent decades dramatically. So, how can Occupational Therapy help the babies with Down Syndrome?

How Does Occupational Therapy Help the Babies with Down Syndrome?

The babies or children with Down Syndrome need more extra support to access everything in their life. Thanks to research, advocacy and education, it finally resulted in the advance of therapy, especially for individuals with down syndrome.

Occupational Therapy for Babies with Down Syndrome
Here, the great therapy for the individual with Down Syndrome is Occupational Therapy that aims to assist them master the skills for independence through self-care including fine and gross motor skills, feeding and dressing, school performance and play and leisure activities.

Occupational Therapy will assist the babies with down syndrome to reach their potential throughout their lifespan. During infancy, Occupational Therapists will help mothers to handle their down syndrome babies who have feeding problems, because of weak muscles in their tongue, cheeks and lips. During their childhood, the Occupational Therapist will focus on improving their motor skills for independence.

In addition to mastering motor skills, the Occupational Therapists also focus on loose ligaments at the joins, low muscle tone and visual and auditory deficits. Therapists will also enhance the communication skills of babies or children with down syndrome through handwriting, printing and keyboarding.

Generally, Occupational Therapists actually have the ability to handle the babies with down syndrome and their families to reach the highest level of independence and quality of their life.

Occupational Therapy Activities for Babies With Down Syndrome

Giving the therapy for babies with down syndrome may be harder than children in general. However, the types of therapies for babies with down syndrome will be the same, that’s to improve their independence skills in their life.

There are at least five skills that Occupational Therapist will help for babies with down syndrome, here are they:

  1. Self-care skills

The general activities naturally developed by other children such as feeding, dressing and toileting can be a hard challenge that the family can do for babies or children with down syndrome. Well, the Occupational Therapists will help them to identify which tasks and component parts that they are struggling with. The therapists will also provide one-to-one treatment sessions or advice on equipment, strategies and techniques that may help them.

  1. Gross motor skills

Occupational Therapists that have been working with babies or children with gross motor skill difficulties, they will also quickly identify what difficulties that the babies or children with down syndrome have and where those difficulties are coming from.

After the Occupational Therapists have found the issues like walking, balance, running or hoping, they will then give the practical advice, treatment, recommendations about how to handle them a lot.

  1. Fine motor skills

Because of their cognitive and neural development difficulties, the babies or children with down syndrome will be more likely to have fine motor skills difficulty. However, fine motor skills are a common area of difficulty for a lot of children.

The babies with down syndrome will tend to have shorter fingers that makes it harder to master their fine motor activities. Certainly, there are a number of fun activities that they can do to improve their fine motor skills.

It is said that fine motor skill is anything about coordination. For example, when a child holds a pencil. However, almost every task will need fine motor skills. So, improving the fine motor skills of the babies with down syndrome is very needed, as they can coordinate the use of their hands and eyes at a time.

The activities that Occupational Therapists may give for babies with down syndrome include:

  • Finger Paint: They can start with taste-safe finger paints that can be made from flour, baby foods or also pudding.
  • Stickers: The therapists may ask the babies with down syndrome to hold stickers and stick them in a certain area, like a blank paper. This activity will help the babies with down syndrome to increase their fine motor skills, coordination, precision and many others.
  • Coloring: The Occupational Therapists may ask the babies with down syndrome to hold a coloring pencil and color any objects with crayons of different sizes and shapes. This activity actually helps them develop their fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and many others.
  1. Sensory integration activities

To integrate sensory stimulation that is received from the environment around them, the babies with down syndrome really have difficulty. Here, the occupational Therapists whose sensory integration skills will build what areas of sensory processing the babies or children with down syndrome.

Furthermore, the therapist will experience and address them through program, advice and or direct therapy sessions. Here are the examples activities that can improve the sensory integration for the babies with down syndrome:

  • Crayon floam dough
  • Make a sensory bottle
  • Soap sensory play
  • Oobleck in the marble run
  • New baby sensory play for siblings
  • Many others
  1. Attention and Concentration

The babies or children with down syndrome will frequently find the difficult skills of concentration and attention. The Occupational Therapists will assist the babies or children with down syndrome to develop the skills that they need for successful integration into school.

Attention and concentration are one of the important things that Occupational Therapists give to the babies of children with down syndrome. However, when the children find focusing on an activity or task for a certain period of time challenging, they will likely find the expectations of a classroom environment challenging.

Okay, those are some activities that the Occupational Therapists give for the babies or children with down syndrome. As a parent whose babies have down syndrome, it’s highly recommended for you to take your children to a facility that provides Occupational Therapy.

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