One special love, that's what they can give us. They are young, innocent, pure, and what they can give you is affection. They are the kids with Down syndrome.
If they would spell the word, love they would spell it with all their heart. However, challenges arise especially with their fine motor skills. Most of the time, these kids are challenged by how they could spell words legibly and clearly; at times they lose the control to write words in straight lines or they could not practice a strong pencil grip. Hence, in today's article, we will discuss the important things to know for us to understand the challenges that parents of children with special needs go through and what these kids experience as they go on with their remarkable journey. Moreover, we will also know the role of Flexispot's Ergonomic Study Desk in aiding the parents in helping these kids discover their truest potential amidst their condition through drawings and sketching and other activities that may be done to enhance their fine motor skill. So, let's start the discussion now.
I.The Motor Skills:
These are skills that are important to human development. Motor skills are the ones that people need to survive. These are subdivided into two headings:
These are important for everyday activities. The examples of basic skills are:
-using cups, knives, and forks
-holding a pen or pencil
These skills are further divided into two classifications:
-gross motor skills:
These are skills that include whole body movement like walking, running. etc.
-fine motor skills:
These are skills that require the fine manipulation of the hands and fingers. They include holding a pen and a pencil, using knives and forks, and pouring drinks.
The subdivisions do not imply different roles in the motor system because gross motors are carried on to complete a certain task that is under fine motor skills. Now, the second type of motor skill is the:
b.recreational or specialist skills
Skills that are optional and are based on interests and aptitudes. These skills include bicycle, skiing, swimming, playing musical instruments, and playing games.
II. Who are the People that Can Help the Parents:
The following are the experts who could assess and evaluate children. For each skill, there is a specific expert who could do tests and give suitable activities for the child:
Fine Motor Skills: Occupational therapists are the ones who assess and evaluate the child's fine motor skills. Most of them help almost all kinds of children especially special needs children how to function independently.
Gross Motor Skills: Physiotherapists are the ones who help special needs children hone their gross motor skills with confidence and efficiency.
Recreational Skills: Teachers, coaches, and trainers are the ones who assess and evaluate special needs children. Most of them have mastered SPED or special education for them to assist the kids in honing their skills and teach them to be independent and life-ready despite the challenges that they face.
The skills mentioned above are the skills that all children have. However, for special needs children, motor development is delayed. It is due to the reduced size of the cerebrum, brain maturation disorder, and pathophysiological processes which lead to the delay. Hence, some experts say that early intervention-which starts in the early years but despite their delays, a child with DS is still able to reach a milestone that is the same as typical children yet it just takes a great amount of time and a different approach to achieve this. In this next part, we will talk about the
III. Factors Affecting the Motor Development of Children with DS:
Below are the following factors that affect the motor development of special needs children. These factors affect the development of the child's writing and handgrip yet with the reinforcement of the skill, the child can get along with it in the long run although it may take some time. In my years of tutoring children, I once encountered a special needs child; it was indeed challenging but a big blessing. I was able to enhance my teaching skills and class management because I have seen him learn through my approach. For example, to practice his pencil grip, I used a certain finger grip that controlled his finger movements. At the time, he had undergone occupational therapy hence his eye coordination was already developed; I just needed to reinforce learning to him. We both didn't stop trying to practice his reading and pencil grip. Despite those challenges, he became part of the achiever's list in the academy. During our training, some factors that affected his performance were:
Research shows that children with down syndrome are having a hard time receiving signals and process them. This is due to the delay in their motor neuro-pathways hence once they move, they tend to be clumsy and uncoordinated movements are apparent.
Hypotonia is the condition wherein there is a low muscle tone that affects both gross and fine motor skills
c.loose joints and ligaments:
Children with Down syndrome have looser ligaments. This is the reason they seem to be out of line when they move and some movements are uncoordinated causing difficulties manipulating objects and developing pencil control.
The hands of children with Down syndrome are smaller and the fingers are shorter and stubbier. This makes it difficult for them to manipulate objects.
Looking at this information would help us identify now the ways to develop their motor skills. The following ways below should not be limited to the clinics or at the time of the occupational therapy. As mentioned above, there should be continuous reinforcement of the skills until the child develops muscle coordination and lessen clumsiness. The following techniques apply both to children with DS and the typical kids although some may be a bit specifically done for them.
III.How to Improve the Motor Skills
The following are the things to improve with a child who has down syndrome.
A good sitting position and posture are the things that we must develop with special needs children. We must observe the following:
-the chair and desk should be sturdy, stable, and the right size for the child. Flexispot's Height Adjustable Ergonomic Study Kids Desk is recommendable because it can be adjusted to the height of the child. This could make it easy for the child to position himself as he is trained for proper posture and good sitting position.
-open/close hands rapidly
-shake hands and rub them together
-tap thumbs to each fingertip in turn
c.cutting and pencil grip:
These can help the child develop muscle control, especially when gripping the scissors and writing tools. Initially, practice putting the writing tools or the scissors on their palm. Reinforce it until they can get the hang of it. This kind
of practice though needs monitoring and must be ensured safe especially when
safe for the child to practice on its surface.
Having a child with DS is a blessing because you got to have more love and patience for a person who is pure and innocent. The journey might not be easy but it's always worthwhile. So, never give up on your child. You can do it.