In this article we'll explain everything you need to know about Down syndrome and give you practical advice on how to use Speech Blubs with your child or client.
Our app, Speech Blubs, will help you as a complementary activity. The fact is that your child or client with Down syndrome will need intensive speech therapy and home practice. Research on Down syndrome suggests kids show much better progress if they practice regularly 3-5 times a week.
Every child is unique, but here’s a story we’d like to share with you:
March 21st, marks International Down Syndrome Awareness Day. In this video you can see a story about Daniel, an 8-year old boy with trisomy 21 who was among the very first children to use our app Speech Blubs. His journey is a huge inspiration for our team to continue its work. Daniel even visits us every now and then at our office.
When he was 6, he was non-verbal. Mihaela (Daniel’s mom) began using our app for more than a year for up to 20 minutes a day. Speech Blubs was what made the breakthrough. His therapist used our app during therapy sessions and, for the first time, Daniel started paying attention during therapy … Soon after, he started making eye contact with the kids in the app! And later also with his therapist, parents, siblings, and other people too.
The success he experienced with our app is remarkable, and after a couple of weeks he started mimicking “the fish” sounds. This was big since this was the first time he started copying other children. Soon after he was able to repeat other animal sounds.
We can’t promise you the same results since every child is different, but …
Humans acquire new skills (like speech) by mirroring other humans. This means that when we observe the behavior of another person (model), our mirror neurons fire in the exact same areas, as though we were performing that behavior ourselves. So even if a child is merely observing the kids in our app, that’s enough for a beginning. Learn more on mirror neurons and video modeling.
Humans acquire new skills (like speech) by mirroring other humans.
We are also super happy with the results we’ve seen with a couple of other children with Down syndrome who have tested the app. Using Speech Blubs calmed them down, and after just a couple of sessions powered by Speech Blubs they started mimicking animal sounds.
Whenever there is an awareness day, one agreed upon and determined by the international community, I always ask myself about exactly what should we be so aware?
For instance, on January 4th, World Braille Day, is it enough to be aware that Braille exists? Or is it rather our goal to understand how drastically profound a difference the introduction of Braille made in the blind community?
Similarly, on Nelson Mandela Day, are we just supposed to be aware of Nelson Mandela’s existence and the things he accomplished or deserved? How can we take such awareness to another level? Well, here are the words of the Mandela Day’s campaign message:
“Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes … We would be honored if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace, reconciliation, and cultural diversity.”
The answer thus seems clear: we should use awareness days not just to superficially register that something exists, but also to understand how its existence affects us, and how our own existence affects it back.
1) Down syndrome is something to be understood, not cured.
Treat people with Down syndrome just like we treat people without it: respectfully, empathetically, and helpfully. A helping hand, a kind word, and clearly demonstrating that we consider someone our equal is the right way to approach every fellow human, not just ones with Down or other syndromes.
2) Down syndrome is by no means a life sentence; breakthroughs happen and they can be beautiful.
As you will see in the video below, having Down syndrome does not dictate the course of one’s life. Just like anyone in the world, people with Down syndrome live, learn, and change over time. Sometimes they can experience true breakthroughs or insights in their understanding and interaction with the world, often with spectacular results.
3) People with Down syndrome have the same emotions as the rest of us, but might have trouble expressing those emotions.
Humans are social creatures. We all crave warmth, camaraderie, approval, empathy, and understanding. Those living with Down syndrome are no different.
So, what’s the absolute best thing we can do to show awareness about Down syndrome? Be kind, be warm, be accepting, and be excellent.
Be wonderful today, and be aware of it.
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