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Guest Blog: Working Your Child with Down Syndrome up to Multitasking - featured March 25, 2011

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Worth Repeating: Working Your Child with Down Syndrome up to Multitasking

All material Copyright © March,2011 Enabled Kids
Reprinted with the express permission of the the author and Enabled Kids as originally published on their website.

By: Natan Gendelman

Editor's Note: This article was written for parents of children with Down Syndrome. We reprint it here so that you might share it with the families of your kiddos.

In very general terms, a child with Down syndrome may experience developmental delays in many areas. This can include not only his motor function, but his speech and communication as well. In this respect, it is important to remember that development and improvement are things which happen gradually. No one can set your child’s future in stone, and it is important to remember that his success depends not just on the therapists who work with him, but on you as the parent.

You are the one who is constantly working with and supporting your child, and the one who will allow your child to demonstrate how capable he is. In essence, you are learning to become a therapist as your child is learning to interact successfully with the world around him. The treatment that you provide does not happen simply once or twice a week, but all the time in every aspect of his life. As a result, it is important to understand the ways to approach your child so that he can listen to you and respond effectively to your treatments.

When working with a child that has Down syndrome, you need to communicate with him in a very clear and precise manner, especially when you are first starting out. It is important that you explain everything thoroughly. This includes covering what an object or action is for, the purpose of doing something, and how someone can use the action or object. As he learns to grasp individual concepts, the act of multitasking is something that will start up gradually as he continues to build on and improve his skills.

Starting off
When you are introducing him to multitasking, never give your child more than two choices or two things to do at the beginning. Now, the tasks that you give a child don’t have to be too easy. They should be just a bit challenging so that he can learn from this interaction. At the same time however, they should not be too complex. A task needs to be doable with his abilities, otherwise he will try it once, become frustrated or lost, and not continue. So, make sure to explain what the task is for, why you want him to do it, how to do it, then have him complete the task. As well, try to eliminate any noises or disruptions which may distract him from the goal of his interaction.

Continuous learning
By understanding what he is trying to accomplish, a child will come to develop not only his speech, communication and task completion skills, but also key strategies to use in problem solving. When he easily finishes a task, give him another. And, if he is doing just fine with two, then ask him to perform a third one. Just keep in mind that once he has to deal with several tasks, he will need to learn how to prioritize as well. In this way, you will teach a child not only how to perform and deal with the difficulties of daily life, but how to understand and deal with everyday tasks in an efficient manner.

Featured Organization and Author: EnabledKids and Natan Gendelman

We thank Enabled Kids for allowing us to reprint their copyrighted article. For more information about this organization please visit Enabled Kids

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. He graduated from the Canadian College of Osteopathy in 2006. Originally from the former Soviet Union, Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke, childhood brain injury and autism. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives. Having started an innovative child treatment program called LIFE (Learning Independent Functions for Everyday), Natan looks to address current problems with dependency and demonstrate how everyone has the ability to strive for improvement, independence and success.

Tags: Article Down Syndrome Newsletter 25 March 2011