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View Full Version : A Two-Year-Old Child With Down Syndrome - Technical Advice



JulieHowe
07-24-2010, 02:55 AM
Here's the scenario. One of my characters is raising a two-year-old child with Down Syndrome. Are the following traits realistic?

The child is incredibly close to her mother, although she isn't the one raising her. Would she really understand when Mommy was on the phone, even if the mother isn't a part of her daily life? She also won't let go of the phone without a fight when her siblings want their turn to talk to their mother. The child's limited vocabulary includes 'Mommy,' 'My mommy,' 'Bad boy,' (said to her brother when he tries to take the phone away from her) and 'Leggo' (as in 'Let go of my arm!').

Also, would she understand the concept of 'time out' as a punishment for biting her brother? Originally the child was four years old when the story started, but for logistical reasons, the story now begins two years earlier.

Thanks in advance. :)

shaldna
07-24-2010, 03:48 PM
my ex mother in law is a home carer, she looks after adults with DS in their own homes, and it's my understanding, although I may be incorrect, that there are different severities, with some people being more self sufficient etc than others.

I really only have had experience with adults, most of whom are fully integrated into normal society, with jobs and homes of their own, and only minimal external help.

I don't know about children though, but you could conact the DSO, they appear to be very helpful

http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/resources.html

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-24-2010, 04:00 PM
Down's symdrome varies in severity. Find a couple of sites that give developmental milestones for babies and children ... your character will be lagging those milestones by a few months to years, or never get there.

Only a few 2 year olds grasp the idea of phones and connect the voice with a real person.

Time out - separating the children - works, but normal children of that age are just getting to the point of connecting actions and consequences. A child with cognitive delays would not be making that connection easily.

JulieHowe
07-25-2010, 01:47 AM
Thank you very much, Shaldna and Tsu Do Nimh (I'm so jealous of your user name, LOL). I believe you're right Tsu Do Nimh, about the child lacking the cognitive skills to make these connections. I like to toss these ideas around to get input when I'm not sure about something. Thanks!

kaitie
07-25-2010, 07:41 AM
Down's symdrome varies in severity. Find a couple of sites that give developmental milestones for babies and children ... your character will be lagging those milestones by a few months to years, or never get there.

Only a few 2 year olds grasp the idea of phones and connect the voice with a real person.

Time out - separating the children - works, but normal children of that age are just getting to the point of connecting actions and consequences. A child with cognitive delays would not be making that connection easily.

I don't know about the only a few 2 year olds comment. My neighbor's daughter talked to grandma when she was two on the phone, and she was always aware of who she was talking to. I have a friend who's daughters used to talk to me on the phone at that age and they knew who I was. I also have another friend who's daughter was little bitty and used to want to call and talk to her grandma. That might have been just wanting to play on the phone, though.

But mostly, think about how little kids are when we train them to use phones. We give them toys when they're teeny tiny and play pretend phone talk to them, so they're well-integrated to the concept. Most people are putting their children on the phone to "talk" even when they can only manage a word or two. Yes, those kids don't usually care and ignore it, but I think at 2 it's perfectly reasonable to expect a child to realize they're talking to their mother on the phone.

Now, as for the question about time outs and the ds, that's going to be a bigger deal. Is she extremely high functioning? I'd also look into specifics of vocabulary building in children. I'm trying to remember now (it's been awhile since I was in school lol), and I seem to remember that the first words learned are simple things like "mommy, daddy, ball," basic nouns. Concepts like "no" and "mine" and stuff come in soon after that. Then you start combining words into two word phrases, so then you'd have things like "my mommy." My first thought is that for a developmentally delayed child, the latter might be a bit much. Then again, she could be high-functioning, in which case it's okay. Same thought with, "Leggo," though. I can see "no" much more easily. Here (http://infanttoddlerdevelopment.suite101.com/article.cfm/average_age_of_a_babys_first_word)'s a quick link on normal infant development. Verbs come into the mix kind of late.


As for the time-out...I'd guess that she understands she's being punished or not getting what she wants. It might be more effective to try to emphasize the fact that she hurt her brother instead. I'm not sure on that, but I'm just thinking she might get what's going on enough to be unhappy with the situation. Or it might be more effective to say, "Look, you made Billy cry! Do you see that, you hurt Billy!" and show the bite mark and Billy crying and then hug the brother to make him feel better and stuff like that. Guilt training? I don't know. That's what I've always used on little bitty ones, and what I've seen a lot of parents do. Trying to link the idea that the behavior hurt someone and build empathy.

I don't actually have much experience with down syndrome, but I studied a lot of this stuff in grad school. It's just been awhile, so don't take my word for it. Just offering an opinion in the hopes that it might help out some. :)

Guardian
07-25-2010, 08:25 AM
My 2 year old nephew has autism. He does sort of understand the concept of phones, at least. But I'm not sure if he truly understands that there are people on the other end or who they are. He just talks gibberish to them.

He especially LOVES to hit phone buttons. Any type of buttons. He will find them, and he will press them. He once called my neighbor on his mother's cell phone but then didn't want to talk to her. He's getting good at parroting people with words. His favorite things to say are "yup!", "no!" and "cheese".

His younger brother is one and I think that soon the one-year-old will surpass his brother developmentally. Autism =/= downs syndrome of course but I think some of the barriers to understanding things are similar.

JulieHowe
07-26-2010, 12:28 AM
Thank you, Guardian and Kaitie. :)

SouthernFriedJulie
07-27-2010, 05:05 AM
My best friend and I had our oldest children a few days apart. Her daughter has Down's. We were around each other often and I do know that her little girl knew who was who on the phone at around 2 and 2 1/2.

She could say "Mom", "Mommy", "Gamma", "Gampuh", and a few other words. She had more physical than mental issues with her particular case of Down's. My second child has autism and spoke much less, in fact she did not speak at all until 3 years. BUT- even she knew who was on the phone with her at the 2 year mark. She pointed to pictures to identify.

Fighting to keep the phone? Very possible with any child from a bit over a year on up. Kids love to keep the phone and hate taking turns. Yes, they'll become physical sometimes. It all depends on the temperament of the child. Out of my 5, 2 would smack the others, 3 wouldn't.

shaldna
07-27-2010, 11:49 AM
.

Fighting to keep the phone? Very possible with any child from a bit over a year on up. Kids love to keep the phone and hate taking turns. Yes, they'll become physical sometimes. It all depends on the temperament of the child. Out of my 5, 2 would smack the others, 3 wouldn't.

I have regular phone struggles with my three year old daughter.

JulieHowe
07-27-2010, 10:40 PM
My best friend and I had our oldest children a few days apart. Her daughter has Down's. We were around each other often and I do know that her little girl knew who was who on the phone at around 2 and 2 1/2.

She could say "Mom", "Mommy", "Gamma", "Gampuh", and a few other words. She had more physical than mental issues with her particular case of Down's. My second child has autism and spoke much less, in fact she did not speak at all until 3 years. BUT- even she knew who was on the phone with her at the 2 year mark. She pointed to pictures to identify.

Fighting to keep the phone? Very possible with any child from a bit over a year on up. Kids love to keep the phone and hate taking turns. Yes, they'll become physical sometimes. It all depends on the temperament of the child. Out of my 5, 2 would smack the others, 3 wouldn't.

Thanks! :)

SouthernFriedJulie
07-28-2010, 08:23 AM
Thanks! :)

Anytime :-)