For Families and Carers : Early Communication

Baby looking up

Early Communication

The development of speech and language is influenced by many things; these include muscle control, health, ability to learn, vision, hearing, experience of communication.  All children develop at their own rate. Some children with Down’s syndrome say their first word at 13 months, others not until 36 months.   This may sound a little daunting but actually when you look at the tips below you will realise that you are already doing many of the things that will help your child to communicate.

Speech and Language Therapy

Not all children with Down’s syndrome will require regular input from a speech and language therapist. The level of input will depend on the child’s individual need and the availability of services in your area.  Ideally, your child should have been assessed by a Speech and Language Therapist between 9 months and 1 year old.  Your Paediatrician, Health Visitor or GP can make a referral  to the local Speech and Language Service for your child.

Click here to download a factsheet on the the role of the Speech and Language Therapist for babies and pre-school children who have Down’s syndrome.

First steps – Here are some ideas to get you started – your baby might enjoy

  • Listening: To you talking, To music and musical mobiles, To singing and nursery rhymes, To you copying their sounds
  • Looking: At toys (wobble toys and baby gym are good in the early stages), At baby books, At baby mobiles and lights, At themselves in mirrors, At you: pulling faces, making funny noises, singing, smiling, talking
  • Games involving their body such as: Rock-a-bye baby, Round and round the garden, This little piggy, Peek-a-boo, Waving bye bye
  • Having a good time: Being with family and friends, Kissing, Cuddling, Massage, Laughing

We have prepared a factsheet for Speech and Language Practical Activities, please download and have a go.

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