World Down Syndrome Day is a day to raise awareness of Down Syndrome. It is a day we can promote discussion about the acceptance of all our differences as what makes us fantastic and unique as an individual.
In my position as a paediatric Occupational Therapist, I work with a caseload in which involves some clients with Down Syndrome. To celebrate Down Syndrome and assist in raising awareness I wanted to share a story about one of my clients I have worked closely with for close to 8 months now. I visit this client at kindergarten weekly in which his OT goals are around increasing his play skills and self-feeding skills.
When I first met this client, he was experiencing increased difficulty with fine motor skills and coordination skills in which were increasing difficulties in holding a spoon to further feed himself. Myself, the client and the educators at the kindergarten have been working together to assist the child to achieve set goals. As the OT I have focused on play therapy, as children invest time and energy in play, there are opportunities for learning. Through water play (scooping water into a cup and pouring it out, imitation of using a spoon) and object play (feeding dolls and puppets), this child has been able to achieve self-feeding skills with both uses of a fork and spoon.
It is so great to see a mainstream kindergarten provide increased assistance and support to this client to further support himself and his family to achieve his goals. Without the support of all involved with this client, set goals would become more difficult to achieve. I believe the community is becoming more inclusive to further support this population. This client is an energetic, happy and friendly young boy that loves participating in his therapy sessions.
I believe for World Down Syndrome Day it is important to not assume this population cannot learn or achieve the same goals that we set in our day to day lives! I hope that World Down Syndrome Day assist with creating a more inclusive Australia for all ages of those with Down Syndrome 😊.
By Rachael, Paediatric Occupational Therapist