Speech therapy for toddlers with Down syndrome focuses on helping children overcome their physical limitations. Children with Down syndrome have a variety of challenges when it comes to learning to speak, and many of these challenges are due to the physical aspects of speech.
Children with Down Syndrome have weak tongue muscles, which makes it difficult for them to control their tongues. This causes problems when they try to form words and can make it difficult for them to understand what others say. Speech therapists use a variety of speech therapy activities for toddlers with Down syndrome to help them overcome these issues. These activities include:
- Tongue twisters
Tongue twisters are a great way to help toddlers learn how to control their tongues.
- Focusing on the mouth
Children who have trouble understanding what others say often have trouble focusing on their own mouths as well. Therapists can use this activity to help them focus on their own mouths while also improving their oral motor skills.
- Visualization exercises
A common problem among children with Down syndrome is that they are unable to visualize objects in space, which makes it challenging for them to understand what others say. Therapists can teach children how to visualize objects by asking them questions about an object.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects a person’s physical growth and cognitive development. Toddlers with Down syndrome may have short, small bodies and smaller-than-average heads with flat facial features. They also may have difficulty with fine motor skills, learning and speech. Speech therapists can help toddlers with Down syndrome develop their language skills through various activities.
Delayed speech is common in toddlers with Down syndrome. While some toddlers may be able to speak full sentences, others may only be able to speak a few words or sounds, according to the National Association for Down Syndrome. Speech therapy can help improve a toddler’s speech and communication skills so that she can better interact with others.
One way a therapist accomplishes this is through repetition of words and sounds. This activity helps increase the toddler’s recognition of specific words and sounds so that she can begin using them in her everyday vocabulary. The therapist might also teach the toddler basic sign language skills as an alternative form of communication, as well as encourage her to use gestures such as pointing and nodding to express herself to other people.
Some activities you can do with your toddler include playing games that engage their attention and encourage them to interact. Try using toys that encourage them to mimic words, or work on showing them how to make different sounds. You can also play guessing games that involve objects and sounds, or try using music or sound-making toys.
Another way to help your child is to teach them sign language as well as verbal communication. It can also help to make communication a part of your child’s daily routine, such as by reading books together every night before bed.