EARLY DAYS (0 – 5 years)
Families never forget the moment they find out their baby has Down syndrome. They react in many ways and any way is OK. Most families go through a grief process but mixed with this are feelings of love and joy for their baby. Expect emotions to fluctuate.
Family and friends
The support of friends and relatives is very important.
They can help by:
- Just being there
- Offering congratulations, cuddling the baby and buying gifts.
- Cooking and giving practical help
- Following the family’s lead and understanding that sometimes they need to talk about Down syndrome and sometimes they need to talk about something totally different.
“When I told my friend she said, “I don’t know what to say” and that was the best thing she could have said. I didn’t want her to know all the answers, I just wanted her to listen.”
Babies with Down syndrome benefit from Early Intervention. Therapists (e.g. speech language therapists, physiotherapists and early intervention teachers) and the family help the baby learn through play.
- Therapists help children to be fully included in an early childhood setting and help plan the transition to school.
- Families learn skills and exercises to help development.
- Sign language can assist children with Down syndrome to communicate.
- Be aware that milestones may take longer to achieve.
“At times my tears were unstoppable and appeared for no reason. At the same time my new daughter gave me strength, joy and happiness.”