Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome that affects behavioral, physical and emotional development. Although children with Down syndrome learn at a slower pace than non-Down children, they still want to have fun, be treated with respect and enjoy hobbies -- just like other kids. Try out different activities with your child to develop her talents.
Enroll your child in structured sports through your community or school. Participation in sports such as swimming or soccer benefits toddlers to teenagers with Down syndrome. Sports allow children to interact socially with other children to develop friendships and social skills. Playing sports also helps keep kids in shape. Obesity in children is a growing concern, so playing sports promotes physical activity that helps keep children within a healthy weight range.
Explore the wonders of making life grow with your child who has Down syndrome. Plant a garden with your child that she can care for and maintain. You want your child to feel a sense of accomplishment, so choose plants that are easy to grow such as tomatoes. For younger children with small hands, provide large seeds and child-size gardening tools. This activity helps promote self-esteem and physical activity while developing motor skills.
Music and Dance
Encourage your child to learn to play an instrument or take singing classes, which can provide therapeutic benefits to children with Down syndrome. According to Julie Wylie, music therapist with the Champion Centre in New Zealand, emotional, cognitive and developmental needs can be addressed through music therapy. Dance classes, such as ballet or jazz, allow children to laugh, play and participate in a fun physical activity. The dance classes provide structure and give the children an opportunity for social interaction outside of the school.
Reading is an excellent hobby because it positively affects speech, language, vocabulary and memory skills. When your child is young, begin reading books to him to develop his interest in reading. A child with Down syndrome will learn to read at a slower pace. According to Sue Buckley, chief scientist at Down Syndrome Education International, reading skills of children with Down syndrome are typically about two years behind their peers in primary school. Start early and read books together to develop your child’s reading and comprehension abilities until he can begin reading some books on his own.