How to cope well with Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome is often viewed as a lifelong problem, so patients really need a lot of support and learning coping skills to deal with the various challenges. Patients’ reactions will be different, as will their personal, mental and emotional ability to deal with the new situations. Find out the best approaches that lead to independence and well-being.
It is important that you consult the professionals first before determining the right approaches that will lead to a better and healthier lifestyle. You may belong to an online forum or local support group. Start talking about the situation with others who share the same concerns and feelings as you. It is important to know that patients’ reactions may differ depending on their personal experiences and abilities.
Find out the most reliable ways and coping measures that have worked for most patients. Talk therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitative methods are some of the proven ways. There are also medications that may be prescribed when other symptoms or conditions are present. These should only be used if they are really recommended by the experts.
Help starts from within
You need to start finding the right coping skills for yourself to fully support your child. You may feel guilt, fear, shock, and disbelief. Note that this is the time when your baby needs the most attention and support. Take control of your emotions and understand how to improve and adapt accordingly. You can start rearranging the home to keep baby safe and secure, changing your schedule to give him or her more time, and knowing about proper nutrition, toys, and other independence tools.
Other family members should also help at the most critical stages of the child’s life. Although milestones can be reached at a later age, every person in the house should help increase overall well-being. If you intend to breastfeed your baby, you should consult your doctor first, as babies with Down syndrome tend to have low muscle tone, or hypotonia. You may have trouble breastfeeding properly. Breastfeeding can actually help with immunity and other functions for the baby.
Siblings can take turns caring for the baby. Other relatives may also come by to help the child improve social skills and communication. Take your child to different places with different people to build their confidence. The family should coordinate well to meet the baby’s needs until he is ready to do things on his own.
Take it slow
Coping techniques need to be integrated slowly in order for patients to cope with challenges and learn to become independent. Don’t put so much pressure on the patient to reach new heights, and give compliments and praise for small efforts. Parents should also be kind to themselves and stop blaming the wrong reasons. Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that humans really have no control over.
The effects and symptoms of Down syndrome usually last a lifetime, so individuals and families need to be prepared. Parents should also not discourage having more children because they have a history of the condition. While not entirely impossible, many parents are still able to give birth to normal children despite having Down syndrome.
Thanks to Betty Osbourne