Is it a given that Dylan will have difficulties with speech?
I just started reading, "Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome" by Libby Kumin and now I'm feeling a tad...overwhelmed. And discouraged. And I'm only on page 23.
In this book, there is a list of 28 different physical differences that affect speech and language in people with Ds. These differences range from low tone in mouth, tongue, and pharynx muscles (there's that stinkin' low tone stuff again!) to difficulties with coordination, accuracy, and timing of mouth movements.
And those are only the "physical" differences. It then goes into a zillion other reasons why people with Ds have communication problems.
Does this mean that I should expect difficulties? I should assume we will have them? Seems like it to me, which is why I've been feeling some additional stress lately. At the end of the chapter it says, "Although the long list of communication problems that children with Down syndrome might have may seem daunting, much can be done to help overcome or alleviate the problems." Much can be done. Sounds good, semi-hopeful I guess, but...you know...sometimes I already feel like our plate is pretty full with challenges. As it is, I feel terribly guilty when I'm not able to find enough time during the day to work on Dylan's strengthening exercises. I try. But some days it seems like the day gets swallowed up with many feedings, with sitting up after each feeding for 40 minutes as to prevent major spit-up issues, napping, errands etc. And now I must find more time to "involve my child in activities and experiences that will help him overcome difficulties in many areas". Do I already do that? If so, am I doing enough to help him overcome these difficulties? I don't think so. Thus, the stress. And additional guilt.
Oh, I don't know. I've just been feeling pressure lately. Of course it's pressure that I've put upon myself, but it's there nonetheless. Some days I feel as though time that is not spent helping Dylan work on strength and communication is time that is wasted. I know that's not totally true and please believe me when I say that we have our fair share of silly times. Drill Sergeant I am not. It's just that I hate having this guilty, naggy, selfish feeling whenever I put Dylan down in ::gasp:: his bouncy chair. I know that the bouncy chair does not "help" Dylan in any way, shape or form. But every now and then I just need to put the little guy down. I need to put him down without thinking of how this particular placement is going to affect his muscles.
Hm, that got a bit side-tracked now, didn't it?
So, back to my original question. Does everyone with Down syndrome have difficulties with speech and communication? Any thoughts or advice on this?