Parenting guide: Nurturing development of children with Down Syndrome - Hindustan Times

Parenting guide: Nurturing development of children with Down Syndrome

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 14, 2024 07:44 PM IST

Here are some valuable tips for parenting a child with Down syndrome, supporting their development and nurturing their unique abilities

Children with Down Syndrome, with their unique abilities, strengths and contributions, enrich our lives in countless ways and remind us of the beauty of diversity. By fostering inclusive environments, promoting acceptance and celebrating the achievements of individuals with Down Syndrome, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Parenting guide: Nurturing development of children with Down Syndrome (Image by All Special Needs Now)
Parenting guide: Nurturing development of children with Down Syndrome (Image by All Special Needs Now)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rohit Arora, Clinical Director - Clinical Director, Neonatology and Pediatrician at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Gurgaon, encouraged to celebrate the differences and embrace the extraordinary potential within each and every one of us and explained, “Down Syndrome, a chromosomal condition affecting approximately 1 in every 700 births worldwide, is a topic that demands understanding, appreciation, and celebration.”

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He elaborated, “Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristic features and health issues associated with Down Syndrome. While individuals with Down Syndrome may face certain challenges, they also possess a myriad of talents, abilities and strengths that deserve recognition and celebration.”

Cognitive Abilities:

Dr Rohit Arora revealed, “Contrary to misconceptions, individuals with Down Syndrome exhibit a wide range of cognitive abilities. While some may have intellectual disabilities, others demonstrate strengths in various areas such as social skills, emotional intelligence, and creativity. Many individuals with Down Syndrome possess excellent long-term memory, visual learning skills, and a knack for music and rhythm. With appropriate support and encouragement, they can excel academically and contribute meaningfully to their communities.”

Social Skills and Empathy:

According to Dr Rohit Arora, one of the remarkable traits often observed in individuals with Down Syndrome is their innate ability to connect with others. He said, “They demonstrate remarkable empathy, compassion, and kindness, fostering inclusive environments and nurturing relationships. Their genuine interactions and joyful demeanor enrich the lives of those around them, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance within society.”

Physical Strengths and Abilities:

Dr Rohit Arora shared, “While individuals with Down Syndrome may have certain physical characteristics such as low muscle tone and joint hypermobility, they also possess inherent physical strengths and abilities. Many engage in sports, dance, and other physical activities, showcasing their agility, coordination, and determination. Through adaptive sports programs and inclusive recreational activities, they not only improve their physical health but also inspire others with their resilience and determination.”

Artistic Talents:

Creativity knows no bounds and individuals with Down Syndrome often excel in various forms of artistic expression. Dr Rohit Arora said, “Whether it's painting, drawing, music, or dance, they showcase their unique perspectives and talents, captivating audiences with their creativity and imagination. Artistic endeavors provide a platform for self-expression, empowerment, and personal growth, allowing individuals with Down Syndrome to shine and share their gifts with the world.”

Employment and Entrepreneurship:

Dr Rohit Arora revealed, “In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on promoting inclusive employment opportunities for individuals with Down Syndrome. Many businesses and organizations recognize the value of diversity and inclusion, actively seeking to harness the talents and abilities of individuals with disabilities.”

He added, “From small businesses to multinational corporations, individuals with Down Syndrome are making significant contributions in various fields such as hospitality, retail, administration, and technology. Moreover, some individuals with Down Syndrome have pursued entrepreneurship, launching successful ventures and inspiring others with their innovation and determination.”

Advocacy and Awareness:

Asserting that the journey towards inclusivity and acceptance requires ongoing advocacy and awareness efforts, Dr Rohit Arora said, “Organisations and advocacy groups dedicated to promoting the rights and well-being of individuals with Down Syndrome play a crucial role in raising awareness, challenging stereotypes, and advocating for inclusive policies and practices. Through education, outreach, and community engagement, they strive to create a world where individuals with Down Syndrome are valued, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential.”

Parenting Guide

Parenting a child with Down syndrome comes with its own set of joys and challenges. Dr Rohit Arora recommended some valuable tips for supporting their development and nurturing their unique abilities:

  • Embrace Their Individuality: Celebrate your child's uniqueness and focus on their strengths rather than limitations. Recognize and appreciate their progress, no matter how small, and encourage them to pursue their interests and passions
  • Provide Early Intervention: Early intervention services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and developmental support, play a crucial role in promoting the optimal development of children with Down syndrome. Accessing these services early can significantly improve their outcomes and enhance their quality of life.
  • Foster Inclusive Environments: Create inclusive environments where your child feels accepted, valued, and included. Encourage interactions with peers of all abilities and promote inclusive activities that celebrate diversity and promote understanding.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: While it's important to set goals and expectations for your child, it's equally essential to be realistic and flexible. Understand that each child develops at their own pace, and progress may vary. Focus on incremental improvements and celebrate every achievement along the way.
  • Advocate for Their Rights: Be a vocal advocate for your child's rights and inclusion in all aspects of life, including education, healthcare, and community participation. Work collaboratively with educators, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to ensure that your child receives the support and resources they need to thrive.

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