Down Syndrome is a developmental difficulty due to a chromosomal error (or a problem with genes). All children with Down Syndrome have some degree of learning disability and develop skills at a slower rate to other children. Delays in language based and learning milestones are evident around their first birthday.
Symptoms Of Down Syndrome Speech Problems
Children with Down Syndrome commonly experience feeding, swallowing and speech difficulties due to anatomical and physiological differences in their mouth area. These differences include a high arched palate, small upper jaw as well as low muscle tone in the tongue and weak oral muscles. Children with Down Syndrome can experience a lot of oral motor difficulty which can cause speech and feeding problems. Despite these difficulties children with Down syndrome are keen communicators but require some encouragement and training to help them do so in an effective manner. Speech and language therapy is therefore recommended to help facilitate this desire to communicate and can be quite a beneficial form of therapy.
Treatment Of Down Syndrome Speech Problems
Spectrum Health Speech and Language Therapists can assess your child to determine their level of communication, in terms of non-verbal communication, expression and comprehension. We can then plan an appropriate treatment programme tailored towards their specific needs. Early Intervention is recommended in the case of Children with Down Syndrome even before they begin speaking.
The speech and language therapist can work on pre-verbal skills such as eye-contact, turn taking and attention. The speech and language therapist will also work on early vocabulary and language concepts. They can help support the child’s verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as their language and cognitive development. Therapy may also include exercises to help strengthen muscle tone and coordination in the mouth area, exercises to improve speech production or strategies to support language development.
Child Friendly: All exercises and treatment modalities that wewill be child friendly and usually involve using pictures and games to help motivate your child.
Guidance: We will guide you on the best ways to successfully transfer the skills learned in our clinic setting to everyday settings.
Support: Worksheets will be provided each week in order to encourage and facilitate regular practice and improvement at home between your child’s sessions. At all stages throughout the treatment plan, we will provide detailed guidance for you on how to support your child’s communication development between sessions depending on what stage of treatment they are at.
Our Expertise Of Down Syndrome Speech Problems
Our Speech and Language Therapists at Spectrum Health provide expert therapy and treatment for people with Down Syndrome to help support communication.
All of Spectrum Health’s Paediatric Speech and Language therapists are qualified from University with a B.Sc. or M.sc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy and have ample experience working with children who have Down Syndrome.