Re: My son has DS...now what?
CONGRATS !!!! You are surely blessed with a miracle. My son Joshua was born almost 18 years ago. His 18 birthday in 2 weeks. I was scared to death when he was born. He was wisked away from me and our small town hospital and sent to Uconn medical center in Farmington. He required one surgery after another. He had heart issues, intestinal blockages, trachia issues and the list goes on. And here we are at an 18th birthday! Once all that was stabalized/or resolved, it dawned on me here was this child with something I knew nothing about. He did not speak, walk, eat very well. He just simply layed there and with tongue out, smiled an adorable smile. And our journey began. My advice to you is find all the assistance you can: find a speech therapist for him (one that teaches total communication.(verbal as well as sign language), next..physical therapist and occupational therapist. Look to the Down Syndrome Assc. They are made up of everyone imaginable. They can guide you in all aspects of care for your beautiful bundle.And help you to become a true advocate for your child.Our children can not stand up for themselves, we must do it. All DS children are different. My Joshua functions on a level of about 3-6 yrs of age depending on the task at hand.Joshua walked when he was 5 1/2, but could sign over 3500 words by age 4.His verbal skills are limited.He at this time can dress himself though is unable to tie his shoes and do small buttons.(we purchase clothes with snaps and large zippers.His teeth came in at about age 7.(with some help from the dentist.Talk to him as much as possible. Ask him to lead you to something he wants and request he verbalizes his needs. Involve him with other typical children as much as possible.DS children learn from others and they mimick.They are little sponges that soak up everything. Do not limit him or overprotect him(as we all want to do with our children.)My son goes to school and will until he is 21. He also has work experience. They go to different companies and are taught skills according to their level. Let him help you with various tasks about the house. Yes even at 15 months old. EX:sorting laundry. As you are sorting clothes say aloud...dark pile..white pile..Your baby will learn from these things. And most of all, DS children are the most lovable , teachable children. They only want your approval and hugs(boy do they love to hug!) One of the tasks my Joshua has had the most difficulty with is stranger danger. He thinks everyone is his friend. We have to keep a good hold on him when out in public or he will take someones hand and walk away with them. Good luck and Happy parenting. Parenting in itself is one of the most rewarding experiences ever...Parenting a child with special needs is even more of a reward.