Babies are one of the biggest gifts that the universe can provide. They provide the laughter, the joy and the pride that only a creator can feel – when he sees his creation. So what happens to this pride when the baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome? The world usually comes crashing down. And then begins the long journey of learning that ends in acceptance.
Most of the times parents want to know what it means to have a child with Down syndrome, what they can do as parents, how the future of the child would be, would they be independent, would they grow into “normal” kids etc. The first professionals to talk to the parents of babies with Down syndrome tend to discuss the difficulties babies will encounter, problems that “could” arise, milestones their child may not reach, services needed to help their babies as soon as possible. Parents have a tendency to look for solutions to problems that may or may not exist.
The fact is that no one knows, early in life, how exactly Down syndrome may affect a child. They may be really good at cognitive activities, but have significant delays in movement… thereby falling behind her peers in playground and paper-and-pencil activities. They may be fairly good at gross motor, excelling in sports. Ocular control may be an area of need, or may be perfect. Language may be good, or may need lots of work. But there is one thing that is for sure -that babies don’t care what their chromosomes look like. They expect to be treated like babies – nothing more, nothing less. You have to carry them, cuddle them, talk to them, feed them and generally give the loads of love. They somehow know that they are lovable, cute, and the center of their parents’ universe.
When a baby has Down syndrome then parents need to know that they are prone to certain physical and cognitive delays. They need to keep an eye open for problems that could arise. It’s important that they know something about their child’s diagnosis so that they can be alert and helpful. But the most important things that parents of babies with Down syndrome can do are exactly those things that all parents do – cuddle, feed, sing and love
Please remember – young children with Down syndrome often show delays that need to be remedied so that these kids can be happy with themselves and do their very best. Very young babies with Down syndrome have specific concerns about early development – which is but natural.
But please remember – at the end of the day, the baby is just a baby that has the right to laugh and get love, just as any other baby does.