Caring for a child with Down syndrome will, of course, come with its challenges. Some days are sure to be harder than others. However, there will be beautiful days too, where you hold your kiddo tight and you know that you are doing your best. It will require patience, understanding, and empathy amongst other things, but you’ve got this.
Continue Your Education
Keep yourself informed to ensure that you are up to date on research regarding Down syndrome. There are always new developments in chromosomal conditions. The more you know, the better you can care for your child. Being in the know should offer you both a better quality of life.
Establish a Plan
Often, we are able to detect Down syndrome before birth, giving us time to make an appropriate birth plan with the doctor and within our immediate families. If you are expecting a child that may have this condition, be prepared for a variety of tests following the birth to check your baby’s heart, hearing, vision, and health in general. It may require a slightly longer hospital stay for your baby but knowing what to expect may ease your mind a bit.
Foster Their Growth and Development
As your child begins to grow, you’ll learn a lot about the way he or she is developing cognitively and physically. There is such a wide range of capabilities when it comes to Down syndrome. Being involved in occupational, speech, and special therapies that help strengthen the body and other skills is helpful. Horseback riding therapy has proven to help immensely in core strengthening, brain stimulation, posture, balance, and even speech. Chariot Innovations’ hippotherapy simulatorallows your child to activate the use of thousands of muscles simultaneously from the comfort of a controlled therapy office.
Join a Support Group
Joining a support group can be helpful, even if you choose not to actively participate. There are many people in the world going through similar situations. Sometimes listening to others’ tribulations and triumphs can shed light on instances you experience. If you do participate and share your own breakdowns and wins, you may be helping someone else, perhaps without even knowing it.
There are bound to be times when your child needs help—that goes for any parent in any situation. When possible, let your kiddo be in control. Due to limitations, children with Down syndrome can sometimes feel out of control of their lives. Allowing your child to make some choices, take small risks, and problem solve can be very beneficial for you both.
Parenting is never easy, whether you are caring for a child with Down syndrome or not. There are highs and lows, regardless. The more you can prepare yourself, lend support, and seek support for your own well-being, the better. Ask as many questions as you have and stay informed so that you and your child live life to the fullest.