5 Recreational Activities for a Child with Down Syndrome
Image Source: Skolegutt by Kari Reine
In order for children with Down Syndrome lead a meaningful life, full guidance and utmost support are unquestionably vital. In general, the physical and mental development of children with Down Syndrome are delayed and their intellectual disability goes from mild to moderate. Some children may have vision and hearing problems too, and others may even have congenital diseases that are associated with their condition. Still, they are very much capable of learning new things and developing more skills, paving the way for a more productive life. Many people with Down Syndrome have succeeded in their chosen field. Take for instance Summer Heights High's Danny Alsabbagh, Lauren Potter of Glee and Sujeet Desai who's an accomplished musician- the list could go on. Some may not have gained popularity, yet have inspired others by fruitfully living a normal life- getting married, having a family, maintaining a regular job, and completing the things that normal people do. It has been confirmed that with an incessant encouragement, alongside a strong support system, a suitable environment and the appropriate nutrition and healthcare, success is substantially attainable. Here are five types of activities that will help you in fostering your child’s learning and development.
- Fine Motor Skills
Most often than not, kids with Down Syndrome also have SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder. They have a hard time "feeling" due to their weak muscles. They may find awkward to be touched, may have trouble grasping objects and tend to get clumsy. Engaging in fine motor skills pursuits with the use of clays and Play-Doh’s, building with lego, or simply letting him play with water and sand will definitely improve his muscles and movements.
Art will allow kids to enjoy expressing themselves while developing their eye-hand coordination. It promotes creativity and improves their imagination, aiding their cognitive development. Finishing an artwork can also a great source of confidence. From scribbling, finger painting using his favourite colours to drawing, the experience is definitely relaxing and uplifting for him.
Music plays an important role to the progress of a child with Down Syndrome, as it helps them in memory retention. You can use a certain type of music that he loves for a specific routine, so he could associate this music to the said activity in the future, forming a habit through music. Have some musical and developmental toys accessible for your child, and if he manifests an interest in learning how to play a musical instrument then take advantage of that keenness to hone it into a talent!
Traveling is advantageous to everyone, and provides an experiential learning for children with Down Syndrome. Sight-seeing will give them an educational and visually entertaining experience. Meeting new people also promotes communication. Walking around the zoo doesn't only allow them to know the different kinds of species, but enables them to be physically fit. Whether he's riding a plane, coach or cruising, each aspect of his holiday is definitely a learning experience!
Engaging in sports provides a lot of positive benefits to your child. A child with Down Syndrome may have difficulty in learning the fundamentals of a certain sport, that's why breaking down the different parts of a sporting opportunity is ideal. This will allow him to learn it eventually as a whole. Modifying the equipments and the venue will greatly help too. Depending on your child's physical capabilities and fitness levels, activities like balancing on a beam, hopping, cycling, and running will all help in strengthening your child's muscles, thus improving his physical condition. It's amazing that nowadays, there is already an improved inclusion of children with Down Syndrome in sporting events and community activities.
Make sure to choose the right activities for your child's level and provide him the best tools and an ultimately encouraging environment that’s beneficial for his well-being. Be strong, patient and optimistic as for your child to mirror these, you should be the first one to exemplify the said traits. And just like any other kids, your child is a gift! Wrap him with love, understanding and respect. You'll soon find yourself witnessing a certain type of magic happening right before your eyes. Not the type that will make everything better in a snap, but the sort of magic twinkled by time, weaved by fondness and laced with devotion. The type of magic only love can produce. All of your hard work will certainly pay off by becoming a part of his milestones, celebrating his improvements and joys in finding achievement, on his way to a remarkable development. It’s not impossible that kids with Down Syndrome will attain the things that they set their minds to in their lives. Your child is your biggest investment, and although there are moments of accomplishments and times of disappointments, giving your 100% won't certainly have any unfavorable effects- it’ll always be for his good for sure! You hold the wand in creating that magic. Have fun using it as you create happy memories with your child - the love of your life! J