More About Downs Syndrome

How to Cope Well with Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is often considered as a lifetime problem, so patients really need a lot of support and to learn coping measures to deal with the different challenges. The response of patients will differ, as well as their personal, mental and emotional ability to handle the new situations. Find out the best approaches that lead to independence and wellness.

Expert Advice

It is important that you consult the professionals first, before determining the proper approaches that lead to a better and healthier lifestyle. You may belong to an online forum or local support group. Start to talk about the situation with others who share the same concerns and sentiments with you. It is important to know that patients’ reactions can differ depending on their own personal experiences and capabilities.

Find out the most reliable ways and coping measures that worked for most patients. Talk therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitative methods are some of the proven ways. There are also medications that may be prescribed, if other symptoms or conditions are present. These should only be used if truly recommended by the experts.

Help Starts Within

You need to start by finding the right coping measures for yourself to provide full support to your child. You may experience feelings of guilt, fear, shock and disbelief. Take note that your baby is the one who needs the most attention and support at this time. Take charge of your emotions and understand the ways to improve and adjust accordingly. You can start by rearranging the home to offer safety and security for the baby, changing your schedule to provide more time for him or her and knowing the right diet, toys and other tools for independence.

Family Support

Other members of the family should also help during the most critical stages of the child’s life. Although milestones may be reached at a later age, every person in the house should contribute to boost overall wellness. If you intend to breastfeed your baby, you should ask your physician first, since babies with Down syndrome tend to have low muscle tone or hypotonia. They may have difficulty breastfeeding properly. Breastfeeding can actually help in immunity and other functions for the baby.

Siblings can take turns taking care of the baby. Other relatives can also come over to help the child improve social skills and communicating. Take your child to different venues with different people to boost its confidence. The family should coordinate well to meet the needs of the baby until it is ready to do things alone.

Taking It Slowly

The coping techniques need to be incorporated slowly for patients to deal with the challenges and learn to become independent. Do not pressure the patient so much to reach new heights and give compliments and praise for small efforts. Parents should also be kind to themselves and stop blaming the wrong reasons. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that people truly do not have any control over.

The effects and symptoms of Down syndrome usually last a lifetime so individuals and families need to be ready for these. Parents should not also stop themselves from giving birth to more kids because they have a history of the condition. Although it is not entirely impossible, a lot of parents can actually continue giving birth to normal children despite the previous one being afflicted with Down syndrome.

Handicapped Grooming and Ordinary Tasks

Personal hygiene is keeping the body clean. It helps to prevent the spread of germs and is especially important for the disabled who may need help with this task. Grooming is caring for teeth, fingernails and hair. Some of these activities would be styling hair, shaving, trimming and painting fingernails.

Maintaining good health also includes the following areas: nutrition, leisure, recreation, sleep, and exercise. As you can see, there are many factors that contribute to feeling and looking good. Feeling and looking good is important to each individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

If you are disabled it can be a challenge with upper body tasks such as brushing your teeth, applying hand lotion or holding a hairbrush much less tying your shoes, or cutting your meat with a knife or even using a pair of scissors.

If you have a disability that involves your feet or legs, you may find it difficult to get in and out of the bathtub or have a manicure or pedicure. There are many personal care aids available for someone who is disabled; hair dryer stands, toothpaste squeezers, lotion applicators, one-handed nail clippers and self-inspection mirrors are just a few of the items that a person with a disability might use to perform self-grooming activities.

I would think that one of the most frustrating things for many people with a disability is the loss of independence. Everyone wants to look their best but it’s difficult to look your best when you can’t brush your teeth, comb your hair or have proper hygiene. There are many grooming equipment items that can help you with everyday grooming so you can take care of these things for yourself so you have a feeling of independence and you don’t have to rely on someone to help you with these tasks. There are many health aspects to good hygiene. It makes you feel good to be neat and clean and gives a feeling of self-worth.

I came up with a list of these items on the website mentioned below:

A stand for your hair dryer could be a useful item if you have trouble holding onto items. This item could provide a semblance of normalcy and allow you to do this task for yourself. Hair brushes for the disabled that have an extended handle helps those who are unable to reach that far. They often come in 12 or 14 inches in length. Brushing your hair regularly helps stimulate the circulation in the scalp.

If you are unable to grasp a regular hair brush due to limited hand strength or arthritis, there are universal hand clips that you can stick to the hair brush. One side will velcro to the brush and the other is a clip that you put over your hand.

Taking care of your eyes is important. Getting the eyedropper to drop directly in the center of your eye without blinking can be difficult but eyedropper guides make it much easier. The guide fits over your eye and prevents your eye from blinking. No more missing and hitting the eyelid.

Good dental hygiene not only prevents tooth decay, it can promote overall health by preventing gingivitis, or gum disease. There are toothpaste squeezers that can help.

Feet scrubbers that can be attached to the shower floor and can remove dirt and dead skin when you move your feet back and forth.

Dry skin is uncomfortable and more likely to become irritated or break down under pressure, so the ability to apply lotion is important.

If you need access to products for people with a disability there are grooming aids readily available from on-line specialty stores and internet sites. There are many handicap grooming aids out there and it is almost certain you will find one that will meet your needs.

Assistive Communication Devices and Applications for Children With Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can result in some or many of a wide array of impairments or developmental delays, some minor, others major. For many children with CP, the ability to communicate effectively can be a real challenge. This may be the result of cognitive impairments, where they struggle with vocabulary and idea processing, or it may be more about the motor skills that govern the mouth, lips and tongue. CP related hearing impairments can also have a profound effect on a child’s ability to communicate. Learning complex language and speech skills is uniquely human. So is the ability to invent and utilize adaptive devices to aid those who struggle with this process.

Children develop and use language at roughly their own pace, but a child who fails to meet certain developmental milestones for communication should be tested for speech and hearing issues. Babies should react to sound from birth and even look towards the source of a sound by 6 months. If a child isn’t hearing sound well enough to react to it, they will have a difficult time learning to speak. Hearing screenings are available to infants of any age.

In our highly technical world, many new techniques and devices have been developed aimed at assisting young people with hearing and speech impairments in their efforts to communicate. AAC (Augmented and Alternative Communication) strategies and devices exist in many formats from high-tech to low-tech. With the proliferation of highly sophisticated assistive devices comes the fear that children will lose their motivation to attempt speech.

Before choosing which specific method of intervention or technology will be of greatest benefit to your child with cerebral palsy, seek the nearest rehabilitation or teaching hospital that offers evaluation and assistance in choosing AAC systems. Many of them offer assistive technology clinics where teams of AAC specialists along with speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists can work directly with AAC technology vendors to design a service plan customized for your child. Having all these professionals under one roof streamlines the process by facilitating effective communications between professionals you might otherwise have to visit individually in multiple cities. The result is an AAC system customized specifically to your child’s abilities and needs and the training that both you and your child will need.

Science has made mind-boggling advances over the past decade and there’s no end in sight. Laboratories have developed brain/computer interface systems that provide communication and control capabilities to individuals with severe motor disabilities.

VOCAs (voice output communication aids), such as those used by famous physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking, allow individuals with severe speech impairments to communicate verbally by using voice synthesizers filtered through computers, including laptops and hand-held devices.

It’s an undeniable fact that people with severe speech and motor impairments are having their lives changed for the better as a result of these amazing advancements in the field of assistive technology and augmentative communications. Some of the more impressive AAC devices and assistiveware applications on the market today include: Proloque, Proloque2Go, KeyStrokes, TouchChat, TouchStrokes, SwitchXS, LayoutKitchen, Minspeak, VisioVoice, GhostReader, Digit-Eyes, Pictello. Go to each products website to learn more about what systems the work on and other details.

4 Great Techniques To Help Your Baby Learn To Creep

Most babies typically begin creeping around the six- to seven-month mark. However, the range of age is wide in terms of when this may actually occur. Some babies begin to creep as early as five months, while others may take as long as eight or nine months. Creeping requires a considerable amount of trunk and upper/lower extremity strength, so have some patience and don’t rush your little one! We have provided a few techniques below to help you help baby get moving.

Please note: if you are worried that your baby is not as active as she should be, talk with your pediatrician. Trust your instincts!

Before we get to the techniques, let’s define the difference between two terms that are often used interchangeably: creeping and crawling.

Creeping isdefined as moving around on the floor with the stomach in direct contact with the ground. Some babies develop the ability to creep in a circle first; while others, whose arms are stronger than their legs, are able to creep backwards first.

Crawling is defined as moving on hands and knees with the stomach up off of the ground. One type of crawling, known as commando crawling, may be seen when an infant moves around on the floor on forearms while dragging his hips behind him.

The following are some strategies for initiating and developing creeping skills in your baby:

Tummy Time

One often overlooked aspect of developing the ability to creep is time spent on the floor. As long as your baby has adequate head control then she should be spending at least one hour each day, every day, on the floor. This activity has many benefits such as building strength of the arms and chest muscles as baby pushes her chest up off the floor. While in this position, baby will also have an opportunity to strengthen her neck muscles as she lifts her head to look around the room. Some babies may not like or be able to tolerate tummy time for extended periods. If this is your baby, start small and gradually increase the amount of time spent on the floor. Your baby will be able to tolerate being on her stomach if she sees you doing it with her, so lie down on your stomach face-to-face with your baby and show her how much fun tummy time is!

Once your baby is able to tolerate being on her stomach for an extended length of time, you are ready to help her to start moving.

Creeping in a Circle

  • Position baby on the floor propped on her forearms.
  • Place a small, brightly colored toy directly in front of her just out of reach.
  • Move the toy towards your baby’s side in a semi-circle so that she has to turn her head to continue looking at the toy.
  • Encourage her to shift her body weight from one hand to the other and try to reach the toy by pivoting on her stomach.
  • As she begins moving towards the toy, move it so that it is just out of her reach. Continue moving the toy until she has crept in a complete circle towards one side of her body. Allow her to play with the toy for a short amount of time and then repeat this process towards the opposite side of her body. Repeat this activity so that baby makes five complete circles to both the right and left sides of her body.

Practice creeping in a circle every day for about one week. Once baby is confident in her ability to complete this activity, she is then ready to attempt to creep forward.

Creeping Forward (Double Leg Assist)

  • Position baby on her stomach on the floor with a small toy just out of reach.
  • Once she is engaged with the toy, kneel behind her and slightly bend both of her knees.
  • Place your hands under the bottom of her feet and provide her with a firm surface from which to push off of.
  • Encourage her to reach forward to get the toy by dragging herself forward with her hands and pushing off of your hands with her feet.

When baby is able to creep forward using the above technique, she is ready to move forward and attempt to creep with assistance provided to one leg at a time.

Creeping Forward (Single Leg Assist)

  • Place baby on her stomach with a brightly colored toy in front of her just out of reach.
  • Once she is interested in and focused on the toy, bend one of her knees.
  • Place your hand under the foot of the leg with the bent knee and encourage her to push off from your hand as she reaches for the toy by extending or straightening that leg.
  • When baby has moved forward, switch to her other leg and bend that knee and repeat the above process.
  • Continue forward alternating between her right and left legs.

After about a month or two of practice on the floor creeping in a circle and creeping forward, baby should be ready to start learning how to crawl. Stay tuned for future articles on techniques for helping your baby through this next stage of development.