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Some tips for teaching children with Down syndrome

Down syndrome (DS) is a developmental disorder that is caused by a extra genetic material from chromosome 21. People with DS have 47 chromosomes in each cell instead of the usual 46 and this can affect the person's intellectual and developmental abilities. Given the right support and guidance, a child with Down syndrome can become successful and self-sufficient.

In India, there are thousands of schools that train and empower children with Down syndrome. Training and teaching new things to a child with Down syndrome may take longer but is possible with patience and understanding.

In fact, children with Down syndrome are extremely loving and caring. If they love you, they listen to every word of what you say. With the right steps, a child with Down syndrome can be trained and empowered to face the world, say experts.

One of the main challenges trainers find is that the child will be very slow. At the same time, they expect a lot of love and affection from you. So make sure you provide them a lot of that so that they trust you during the training process. Be patient and give them a lot of time as well. Since most children with Down syndrome imitate well, trainers must work on that. Their medical condition must be constantly checked on. Also, make sure that they undergo all required therapies at the right time so that they can do well in academics and skills training as well. -Parvathy Vishwanath, Founder, Aikya

Some tips for teaching children with Down syndrome

  • Be aware of the child's condition - Are you fully aware of what Down syndrome is? Each child with DS has different requirements. So it is important to know what your student demands. Talk to their parents and get a detailed insight into their condition. Also check on their health. Some children with the condition might tend to get tired easily. Being a guide and teacher, you must be fully aware of all that.
  • Be patient - Teaching a child with Down syndrome academics or even basic life skills like bathing and eating their food can be a tedious task. But be patient and understanding. It does a lot of wonders. Understand their requirements and stick with them throughout the training process. You must make sure that you gain their trust and love. If you lose patience and become rude, the child will only try and stay away from you or your instructions. Undoubtedly, patience is the key. If they make a mistake, do not say that they are wrong. Ask them to try again.
  • Repetition works - When the child has studied a new word or a new song, try and make them remember it over and over again. Ask them to repeat it the next day so that they do not forget. Make sure that they repeat everything step-by-step. This helps a lot. It will also ensure you that the student has learned it properly.
  • Partner with the child's parents - So if you are teaching or guiding a child with Down syndrome, you must make sure that you are in constant touch with their parents. No one knows the child better than their parents. So even after class hours get over, the child must be kept in the loop. Talk to parents and tell them how they can become a part of training and guidance at home. Most of the parents are more than glad to help.

"Most trainers fail in fully understanding needs and requirements of children with Down syndrome. Since their internal organs, including the brain is developing slowly, they need a lot of time and patience. Trainers must understand that preparing a child with Down syndrome to face the outside world is more important than academics. Allow them to explore. This is also an integral part of education. Being a trainer, you must keep giving them confidence and guidance", says Rekha, Co-Founder, Buddhi Special School in Bengaluru

ALSO READ: Check out these awesome recreational activities for children with Down syndrome!

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