Children with Down syndrome usually have delayed speech and language development. Typically, these children have a much harder time learning to talk (expressive language) than with understanding what they hear (receptive language). On average, children with Down syndrome start using words around 16 months of age—about 6 months later than other children.
Children with Down syndrome are often taught sign language to enhance communication and bridge the gap between expressive language and receptive language. Although some parents worry that using sign language will interfere with their child's speech development, evidence suggests that the reverse is true. Sign language gradually decreases as speech abilities develop.
Simple measures can help your baby to develop speech and language skills:
A speech therapist can provide specific suggestions based on your child's abilities. Usually, this includes detailed information for a home program to help your child practice speaking.
Current as of: July 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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