A characteristic that is seen in most people with Down syndrome is developmental delay. Development is the progression of skills in a variety of areas - including motor skills, speech and language, memory, social skills and behaviour. This developmental delay means that children with Down syndrome will often need longer to develop and practice their new skills, though in most cases they will reach their developmental milestones in the same order as their typically developing peers.
A developmental milestone chart for children with Down syndrome can be found in the Useful Links and Downloads section below. The chart provides average ages for skill acquisition and also the range which clearly demonstrates that development for children with Down syndrome can vary dramatically between individuals. It is important to remember that with the right support all children will develop skills in their own time.
Research shows that access to early intervention services is incredibly beneficial for children with Down syndrome. This is likely to include work with a Speech Pathologist, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist among other allied health professionals. There are a range of therapy services and programs available to children with Down syndrome living in Queensland including Better Start, Disability Services Qld and Early Childhood Development Programs. Information about each of these programs can be found at the links below.
Perhaps the most important factor in the development of children with Down syndrome is the attitude of the people around them. It is important to set high goals and believe they can reach them, celebrate every success (even the little ones!) and give lots of encouragement along the way.
Useful Downloads and Links
- Queensland Government - Specialist Disability Services
Information about how to access specialist disability services including early intervention
- Better Start
Funding for early intervention services
- Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDP)
Early intervention services provided by the Department of Education, Training and Employment for children from birth to pre-Prep
- Developmental Milestone Charts
Published by the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group (UK) to demonstrate the usual developmental progress of children with Down syndrome
Further Information and Support
For further information and support please contact the team at DSAQ on (07) 3356 6655 or at [email protected]