Keeping activities meaningful and enjoyable, and working on computers can help children with Down’s Syndrome cope up as far as learning parameters are concerned, experts said here Thursday.
Down Syndrome is associated with a delay in cognitive ability and physical growth and a particular set of physical characteristics, like slanted eyes and short necks. It is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21.
“Kids with Down Syndrome are slow learners and may get confused if they are taught too much at a time. Give them time to process language and respond,” said Surabhi Verma, director, Sparsh, an organisation working with disabled children.
She said that parents and teachers should use simple and familiar language, short and simple sentences and keep activities meaningful and enjoyable.
The tasks given to such children should be short, focused and clearly defined.
“Working on computers can sometimes sustain a child’s attention. Create an activity box for times when the child needs a change of activity or time out,” she said.
“Indoor games can be played with them. They should be made to understand the rules that could help learn the tricks,” she said.
March 21 is celebrated as the World Down Syndrome Day for raising awareness for people with this condition.
According to doctors, the disease often comes with congenital heart diseases, which is treatable with surgery.
About 40 to 50 percent of babies with Down Syndrome have heart defects. Early screening and surgical intervention if needed can greatly increase the life span and quality of life in such infants.
According to R.K. Khandelwal of Vardaan Hospital, New Delhi: “Heart surgery can be performed even on a new born child. So even if the child is weighing less than 10 kg, the surgery can be performed”.
There is no one cure or treatment for children with Down Syndrome but there are many strategies to help the child cope better with the stress.