Children with Down syndrome often have difficulties when learning to speak, even though they understand much more than they are able to express. We propose 4 activities recommended by various experts, useful for developing the communication skills of children with Down syndrome between 0 and 3 years of age:
LISTEN TO ME (from 9 months)
Help your baby to discern speech sounds by playing babbling games. Hold your child in your arms, so that he/she can see your face and make sounds such as “aa-aa”, “oo-oo”, later add the consonants “mm-mm” “rr-rr”. Move your lips in an exaggerated way. You will see that your baby will make efforts to copy you.
POINT AND NAME (1-5 years)
Help your child learn the names of everyday objects by using simple signs as you name the object. For example, put your fist to your cheek, with your thumb stretched towards your ear and your little finger stretched towards your mouth and say “telephone”, or pretend to drink from a glass and say “drink”.
LET’S WATCH TOGETHER (1-2 years)
Get your child’s attention with an object, a doll, a rattle, a picture… encourage your baby to look at it while you describe it to them. Gradually increase the amount of time the child can pay attention to the object while you are describing it.
I WANT THAT (2-6 years)
Teaching your children the meaning of signs and symbols will help them communicate as they develop their communication skills. You can use flashcards or pictures to help them ask for what they need by showing the picture. Always encourage him to say the specific word.
Here is a sign language course by Eliana Tardío, which is very helpful for developing communication skills:
RAINBOW OF WORDS (2- 4 YEARS OLD).
This game is very entertaining to learn colours. Look all over the room for different objects of the same colour – a brown t-shirt, a teddy bear, a blanket, a cup – and put them in a brown basket or bag. A visual activity that uses real objects makes it easier for a child with Down syndrome to understand a general concept. Start by teaching only the name of the colour. Later add the name of the object as well.