Here’s What You Can Do Now to Ensure Your Child With Down’s Syndrome Grows up to Be a Happy, Well-Adjusted Adult
A post by AngelSense, a GPS & voice monitoring solution designed for children with special needs.
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Raising a child with Down’s Syndrome will change your life in remarkable ways. While overwhelming at times, for many parents it’s a rewarding and truly eye-opening experience filled with some of the most meaningful life lessons one can hope to learn. But it’s not always easy.
One of the biggest challenges parents face is coming to terms with the fact that to some extent their child with never stop seeing the world through innocent eyes. For them there is goodness and fun in almost everything they encounter. This coupled with the unusually high rate of learning disabilities among these children, can make the transition to adulthood particularly challenging.
There are many things parents can do to prepare their children for the real world. What many don’t realize, however, is that raising a well-adjusted child with Down’s Syndrome goes beyond investing in their well-being. After all, just like any other child they need to feel loved and included. With a proactive and open-minded approach, parents are more likely to raise children who grow up to be happy adults.
Here are 5 actionable tips for parents looking to give their little one with Down Syndrome a head-start in life.
1. Confront the stereotypes
There are countless stereotypes and misconceptions about Down’s Syndrome. These are the limiting ideas which delude many into thinking that children with Down Syndrome cannot live independent lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While an adult with Down Syndrome may require some support, many do go on to lead productive and largely independent lives.
In 2013, Angela Bachiller became the first young woman with Down Syndrome to hold public office when she was elected to the city council in Valladolid, Spain. Then there is Megan McCormick, a young girl with Down’s Syndrome who graduated with honors from the Bluegrass Community Technical College. What makes this even more remarkable is that she plans to work in education at the elementary level! By believing in your child, they can go on to lead exceptional lives and achieve almost anything they set their mind to.
2. Explore your child’s interests
Never forget that your child is so much more than Down’s Syndrome. Don’t let this disorder define your child’s future. Give your child the opportunity to shine. Remember that all children are unique individuals with their own quirks and personality traits. Spend some time getting to know your special child. You won’t be disappointed.
Taking the time to get to know what makes your little one tick will also help you plan for their future. Perhaps they want to go to college or no longer want to live at home. Of course, not all these hopes and dreams will be feasible. But it’s important to consider them and to include your child in the process.
3. Focus on your child’s strengths
All children have talents. Unfortunately, with Down’s Syndrome these are often overshadowed by a child’s many learning difficulties and health complications. It’s important to look past this and focus on the positive. By identifying what your child is good at, you can develop your child’s self-confidence and ability to adapt to real-world situations.
When parents believe in their children, there’s no telling what they can achieve. One proud father had this to say of his daughter with Down Syndrome on her wedding day: “You’re the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy, and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know. It worked out for you, because of the person you are.”
4. Don’t be afraid to discipline
Discipling a child with Down’s Syndrome can be tricky, but it’s an essential part of helping your child fit in. The key is to discipline based on your child’s developmental age. This means that that nine-year old with developmental age of three, should be discipled according to what’s considered appropriate for a three year old. Unreasonable expectations won’t achieve anything, and often do more harm than good.
Keep in mind that a child with Down Syndrome tends to develop and mature at a slower pace than other children. This includes everything from social skills to toilet training. All you can do is be patient and understanding of your child’s unique needs and capabilities. Your child will get there.
5. Be willing to show your love
Children need love and encouragement to flourish. And Down Syndrome children are no different. Don’t be afraid to show how much you love your child. After all, making children feel valued and part of the family is the best way to ensure they thrive.
Everyone has their own way of showing how much they love their child. It’s up to you to find what works for you. You could, for example, make it a priority to spend quality time with your child. Or perhaps you could treat your child to a fun day. You need to find the best way to show your special child just how much they mean to you.
6. Get strategic about toilet training
Toilet training a child with Down’s Syndrome requires patience and understanding. In most cases parents are ready for this new developmental phase long before their kids are. The trick is to wait for signs that your child is ready. Starting too early may cause your child to develop negative associations with toilet training, and will delay the process unnecessarily.
Several factors to consider when determining your child’s readiness include age, bladder control, motor skills and ability to follow instructions. By learning to spot signs of toilet training readiness you can make the experience a positive and highly rewarding one.
Do you have a child with Down’s Syndrome? What tips or advice do you have for parents looking to raise a well-adjusted child? Share your advice in the comments below.
AngelSense is committed to creating a safer world for special needs children. Our cutting-edge GPS tracking and monitoring solution was designed to give parents the peace of mind that their little ones are safe at all times. You deserve peace of mind too. Join AngelSense Today.
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