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Your Child with Down Syndrome: Early Intervention

Medical professionals agree that early intervention services can greatly help children with disabilities. An organized program of therapy, early intervention includes exercises and activities created to concentrate on developmental delays that may be experienced by children with Down syndrome or other disabilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates these services by a federal law. It requires that states provide early intervention services for all children who qualify, with the objective of helping the development of children and assisting families in understanding and meeting the needs of their children. The most common early intervention services for babies with Down syndrome are physical therapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.

When early intervention should start 

Early intervention should begin soon after birth, and it should continue until your child reaches the age of three. An amendment to IDEA in 2004 permits each state to have early intervention programs that last until your child starts Kindergarten.

Speech and language therapy is a major part of early intervention. Even though babies with Down syndrome may not say their first words until the ages of two or even three, there are many pre-speech and pre-language skills that they must acquire first.

Intervention Options

Early intervention services will assist your child with Down syndrome reach his or her full potential. Therapists and educational professionals work with your child directly, and they also help you as a parent learn ways to work with your child at home. For example, language development is typically delayed in children with Down syndrome, but integrating language into day-to-day communication and the use of sign language can further language development.

Positive behavior management practices may be helpful in tackling behavior challenges. These behavioral issues may appear later and last longer than average, and they may be complicated by communication difficulties.

To provide the most effective treatment options for your child with Down syndrome, you should work closely with your medical professional to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and to best determine the most successful intervention treatments.  

National Down Syndrome Awareness

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is a great place to start when researching early intervention services. NDSS has more than 375 local affiliates throughout the country that provide services to better support the Down syndrome community. Children with Down syndrome and their families face many challenges throughout their lives, but with the support of support services, the quality of your lives can be greatly improved.

If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]