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    Needless to say, children with Down Syndrome, like other children with special needs (for e.g. cerebral palsy), need extra love and care from their parents.

    If you are among the special parents called to care for a child with DS, here are some tips for you:

    1. Find a support group.
    Parents may feel overwhelmed, maybe even depressed, when they first learn that their baby has DS. It usually helps to talk to other parents who are in the same situation. They can help give you tips and point you to doctors, therapists and resources that may be of help to you.

    Locally, parents can get in touch with the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines located at the 2nd floor, 6732 Agrifina Building, Camia corner Meleguas Streets, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City. (Tel. no: 62-2-8953606; E-mail: dsapi@hotmail.com)

    2. Bond with your child through attachment parenting.
    When parents respond to their baby’s emotional cues, they can better sense what he or she needs, even when he or she can’t tell you. Make sure too that you involve other family members in raising your child with DS. You will soon find out how blessed you are to have such a child in the family!

    3. Seek out good medical practitioners.
    When looking for a pedia, make sure that he or she is familiar with DS, or better yet, has experience relating with patients with DS. People with Down Syndrome are usually at risk for varied medical problems, most common of which are heart defects, vision and hearing impairments. Your child needs to be screened by cardiologists, ophthalmologists and audiologists.

    4. Avail of early intervention services right after birth.
    Children with DS may need physical and speech therapy if delays in these areas are present. Some kids may also exhibit some degree of mental retardation.

    5. Ask professionals to teach you what you can do at home to help your child develop.
    Kids with DS usually have weak muscle tone and will benefit a lot from movement therapy, or perhaps even music and movement classes such as those given by Gymboree, Kindermusik or Musikgarten. You may also want to teach your little one sign language to help compensate for speech delays.

    Lastly, but most importantly:

    6. Love your child and enjoy the gift of life you have been given through him or her.
    Parenting in itself is a daunting task, so make sure you embrace your role with faith, hope and love. Many parents of kids with DS can testify that their kids are deeply affectionate and seem to approach life with great joy. You and your family and friends will realize how wonderful life is just by spending time with your child, or other people with DS.



    Photo from sadsin.blogspot.com

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