Each October organizations across America take part in Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a campaign targeted toward raising public awareness of the most common chromosomal condition in the United States. Last week, we discussed some of the common ways Down Syndrome can affect speech, language, and communication. This week, we’ll talk a little bit about how speech-language therapy can help.
Individuals with Down Syndrome are typically not equally delayed in all areas of speech, language and communication. This means a speech-language therapist can help a child with Down Syndrome user their communicative strengths to help build on areas that are more difficult. Although there are certain aspects of Down Syndrome that are typical, each individual has their own specific strengths and weaknesses which also come into play.
During the evaluation, a speech-language pathologist will evaluate the specific areas that are most important for the person with Down Syndrome to communicate effectively, and use these to design a treatment plan tailored to the individual. Language goals often include vocabulary building and improved grammatical structure. The speech therapist can also work with the person to improve speech intelligibility, creating exercises and activities which target improvement of strength and coordination of the muscles used in speech. In some cases, the speech pathologist may help the person learn to use pictures or simple sign language to help express their wants and needs.
In school-age children, the speech-language pathologist can work closely with the classroom teacher to determine what is needed to help the child succeed at school. Then the speech therapist can design a plan to help the child develop compensatory and augmentative strategies for academic success. The speech therapist can also work as a classroom advocate, helping teachers and other learning professionals understand the specific academic communication needs of the child and how they can help them succeed.
Do you have a child with Down Syndrome? What are some of the communication challenges you and your child have faced? Share your story below in the comments section!
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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