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Some tips to communicate with a person who has Down syndrome

February 1, 2019

Down syndrome is a developmental disorder where the individual has an extra genetic material from chromosome 21. But given the right therapy and support, people with Down syndrome can do lead independent lives and do exceptionally well.

Some people with Down syndrome might have difficulties in communicating. As their speech, hearing and sight is affected, they may respond differently.

It might take some people time to understand what is being said. They might use different words for certain things. Like for instance, they might say something else for water. So you must be patient and understand what they are trying to convey. They put in a lot of effort to understand what you are trying to say as well, so sensitivity is important. - Parvathy Vishwanath, Founder, Aikya Special School

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you communicate with a person who has Down syndrome

  • Patience is key - Give enough time for them to communicate what they are saying. Do not rush in to express what they are trying to say. Avoid being judgemental or make conclusions.
  • Surroundings matters. - Regardless of whether you have a disability or not, most people do not like to talk or discuss things when there is a lot of noise. Similarly when you talk to someone with Down syndrome, ensure you do so in a quiet place so you can hear what they are saying and vice versa.
  • Give them space. - Give them the space to communicate what they intend to. Interfering while they are talking will make things more awkward.
  • Be clear and precise. - Most of us, while talking, tend to use short sentences for our convenience. But when you communicate with a person who has Down syndrome, you must be precise and to the point

"Treat them just like how you would treat any person with whom you have a communication. Regardless of having a disability or not, everyone has their own ways of understanding and communicating. So is the case of a person with Down syndrome. Be very patient and give them a lot of time. Make sure you do not interrupt when they are trying to convey a message", says Usha Menon, who has a child with Down syndrome.

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

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