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Frequently Asked Questions

Communication

How can my child communicate?

Face: The face muscles are especially hypotonic. Massaging the baby in the early months will increase his awareness of his facial muscles to better use them later, not only for talking, but also eating and drinking.

Eyes: When your child is small, it is reassuring for him to be carried facing his parents, to maintain visual contact.

Hearing: Generally, speak to your child very distinctly to make it as easy as possible for him to hear the sounds.

Language: Language is slower to come, because of articulation difficulties as well as possibly undetected deafness.

To prepare language, you can have him play games that involve blowing, for example. Blowing uses the cheeks and tones up the lips, which will help with verbal expression. Acquiring language skills takes a very long time. This is why your child must be guided by a speech therapist from a very early age to establish pre-conversational language structures.

How can language be stimulated?

 As long as the child does not speak very well, the Makaton method helps develop language (Consult the website: Makaton).This method was created in England in the 70s and grows language skills with signs (movements) and/or symbols (pictograms).Using signs/movements facilitates and stimulates language development. 

Will my child be able to express himself?

Often, if your child has had a good ENT (examination of the eardrums and hearing) and good speech therapy he will be able to express himself orally easily, but may have other difficulties in expression due to physiological malformations.

However, some children will continue to have significant problems in oral language. This is a reminder that parent care and quality professionals may not be enough. You must not believe that determined therapy will overcome all your child’s difficulties.

Will my child express pain?

Those suffering from Down syndrome usually do not complain of pain, which they perceive a bit differently from the rest of the population. Therefore we must be particularly attentive :a change in attitude, even small, may be a sign that your child is hurting somewhere. When a child hurts himself, he may not react right away. This time lag may mean that those around him don’t notice it; what has happened will need to be explained to him, and he will need to be helped to say where it hurts so he can be soothed and cared for. Further, this will allow him to identify the sensation the next time. 

How can I help my child to express pain?

Those with Down syndrome usually complain very little and when they do, they tend to underestimate their pain. Sometimes it is expressed by atony (absence of tone), which may be seen as fatigue or laziness. It can also be expressed by behavioural problems (agitation, aggressiveness towards others or himself).

It is therefore prudent to consider the possibility of pain when sudden behavioural problems appear, especially if the person has difficulty verbalising his thoughts. A child or adult recently limping to avoid putting weight on one leg should be closely observed; it may be an attempt to limit pain .A repetitive and more or less conscious movement may indicate a painful area, for example regular rubbing, which can also have an analgesic effect and create a counter-stimulation.

Why does he have trouble expressing his pain?

One explanation for these difficulties in expressing pain is that these persons often have poor perception of their bodies. Psychomotor skills are therefore especially important in this connection, because physical therapy allows the child, and therefore the future adult, to better know his environment and better react to it.

How can I help my child express his feelings?

You must help your child say what he is feeling. When he becomes angry, even when he is very small, you can ask him what is wrong and, if he cannot say, offer different possibilities until he can identify it. Developing introspection will greatly help your child in his dealings with others.

How do I manage his expressed frustration?

Being unable to communicate verbally is often enormously frustrating. If your child cannot express himself and make himself understood, let’s help by saying for example that we don’t understand, but that he can show us. You must also help him to verbalise his frustrations, when he doesn’t want to stop doing something, gets blocked or turns the frustration against himself.

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