Most children with Down syndrome require speech therapy early on. While they usually learn to speak on their own, they have problems with pronunciation and sometimes cannot keep a fluent conversation because the other person has a hard time understanding them. Speech therapy is a great way to treat pronunciation problems and to give Down syndrome children the chance to better deal with their surroundings. Read on to learn more about how to treat Down syndrome with speech therapy.
Step 1: Start early. Even before a child starts to speak, speech therapy can help her communicate through gestures, physical contact and facial expressions. This is especially important in children who start speaking late, as they will still be able to get their points across.
Step 2: Concentrate on teaching Down syndrome children how to breathe properly. A big part of the speech problem with Down syndrome children is in the fact that they cannot find a proper way to places pauses in sentences, causing words to come out either too rushed or too slowly.
Step 3: Talk to a therapist if you notice your child has problems swallowing. This is also directly related to the way he uses his throat and may have an impact on his reactions, his speech and the way he communicates.
Step 4: Focus on developing vocabulary and focus on words that are easy to pronounce and don't have double meanings that may confuse the child. At an early age, a speech therapist may opt for concentrating on short sentences with simple grammatical structures and then move on to more common speech patterns as the child's abilities develop.
Step 5: Treat hearing disabilities if they are present. Being unable to hear well is one of the reasons children with Down syndrome cannot communicate properly. By speaking slowly and clearly and by enunciating each word in a sentence, parents can help children progress faster towards appropriate speech.