Therapies are an integral part of any treatment for Down syndrome. DSFI also offers these therapies as a part of the rehabilitation process. This includes Physical Therapy, Speech-language therapy, Occupational therapy and Emotional and behavioral therapy
Physiotherapists make use of a number of stimulatory techniques, manipulations, and equipments for strengthening, milestone achievement, and prevention of deformities, improvement of motor skills and gait. Physiotherapy aids in monitoring the child’s endurance status. Similarly Orthopedics is also suggested to help these children.
Here we include activities and exercises to help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance for children with Down syndrome.
Physical therapy is an important aspect especially when started early in a child’s life. It helps in honing their other skills. For babies in specific, it enhances their ability to turn over, crawl, and reach. Infants learn to interact with the various objects that form a part of their universe.
A physiotherapist can also help a child with Down syndrome compensate for physical challenges, such as low muscle tone, in ways that avoid long-term problems. For example, a physiotherapist might help a child establish an efficient crawling or walking pattern to avoid a style that might be painful for the kid.
Persons with Down syndrome are slow learners, but it is possible to improve their communication skills and help them use language more effectively. This can be done using Speech therapy.
More often than not, children with Down syndrome tend to speak later than their peers. A speech-language therapist can help them develop the early skills necessary for communication, such as imitating sounds. The therapist also may help an infant breastfeed because breastfeeding can strengthen muscles that are used for speech.
Our main focus in speech therapy is on legible and age appropriate speech. Audiology and speech pathology monitoring strategies are used to ascertain the underlying problems that affect speech production. Then, muscular exercises are taught to both the children and their parents and faulty articulation methods are corrected.
In many cases, children with Down syndrome understand language and want to communicate before they can speak. A speech-language therapist can help a child use alternate means of communication, such as sign language and pictures, until he or she learns to speak.
Learning to communicate is an ongoing process, so a person with Down syndrome also may benefit from speech and language therapy in school as well as later in life. The therapist may help with conversation skills, pronunciation skills, understanding what is read (called comprehension), and learning and remembering words.
Persons with Down syndrome are slower to learn but once they get a hang of it, they can be very good at whatever they are doing. Occupational therapy teaches self-care skills such as eating, getting dressed, writing, and using a computer. It helps individuals adjust to their everyday tasks according to their needs and abilities.
An occupational therapist might offer special tools that can help improve everyday functioning, such as a pencil that is easier to grip. As the age of the person increases, an occupational therapist could help identify jobs, careers, or skills that match their interests and strengths.
In recent years there has been a tremendous growth in the use of micro technological resources which can promote enjoyment and education among children and young people who have learning disabilities. One such method has been the use of sensory stimulation rooms which have been tested and are now well established in the U.K., Holland and Germany. The environment has proved to be very stimulating and creative. The programmes are individually designed and cater to the needs of users with special needs. The ultimate goal is to make these people self-sufficient and confident enough to take care of things on their own.
The Multi-Sensory Center at the Down syndrome Association is open to all infants, children and persons with challenges
These therapies work to find useful responses to both desirable and undesirable behaviors. Children with Down syndrome may become frustrated because of difficulty in communicating, may develop compulsive behaviors, and may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health issues. Behavioral therapists help understand why a child is acting out, create ways and strategies for avoiding or preventing these situations from occurring, and teach better or more positive ways to respond to situations.
A psychologist, counselor, or other mental health professional can help a child deal with emotions and build coping and interpersonal skills. The changes in hormone levels that adolescents experience during puberty can cause them to become more aggressive. Behavioral therapists can help teenagers recognize their intense emotions and teach them healthy ways to reach a feeling of calmness.
Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are brought in to deal with behavioral problems, autistic spectrum behavior, and dyslexia. A conducive environment essential for the growth of the child is provided here at Down syndrome federation of India through child-specific teaching programs. These programs are drawn only after careful analyses and numerous experiments.
The therapists also help parents by guiding them on how to help a child with Down syndrome manage day-to-day challenges and reach his or her full potential.
Aquatic activities have been reported to be one of the most popular physical activities among children regardless of condition. The benefits of aquatics, both physical and psychological, are well documented. The benefits of aquatic exercise and/or activity are multiple and range from physical to psychological in nature. The experiences of persons with disabilities, mostly affecting mobility, in relation to aquatics was studied and the researcher emphasized that the buoyancy of water negates the effect of gravity by supporting joints, which gives persons with limited mobility increased movement and flexibility. The opportunity for increased movement due to water’s buoyancy may lead to improved cardiovascular function as well as muscle strength. Participating in aquatic activities and aqua therapy lessons have the ability to improve circulation, mobility, strength, coordination, range of motion, pulmonary function, sensory perception and spatial awareness, muscular and vascular endurance, relaxation, and decreased pain and bone loss in people with disabilities associated with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic impairments, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injuries, developmental disability, and autism. Claims have also been made that persons with physical disabilities may experience a difficult time negotiating land activities due to their condition; however, in an aquatic environment, the buoyancy of water permits this group of individuals to hold their bodies up themselves so that they can attain simple movements that can lead to an improvement in their physical well-being, strength, and endurance. The water also provides resistance that can improve the muscle strength of individuals in this group. The movement of the water also improves the experience of individuals with sensory deficits resulting from their physical disabilities, and the warmth of the water can relax tense muscles.
At the Down Syndrome Federation of India center, our physiotherapists are looking at Aqua therapy as a tool to improve the physical aspects of persons with Down syndrome and give them a psychological boost.