Every Child has a different nature. Language therapy must be designed in consideration of the child's nature. There are some general observations that form the foundation for a speech and language treatment program.
Communication skills are important. It includes not only speech, but also facial expressions, smiles, gestures, pointing, high five signs, and alternative systems such as sign language and computer-based systems. Adults and children are more likely to interact when they can understand and be understood. At home, in school, and in the community, a functional understandable communication system facilitates relations.
Although there are common speech and language problems, there is no prescribed pattern of speech and language common to all children with Down syndrome. There are, however, speech and language challenges for most children with Down syndrome. Many children with Down syndrome have more difficulty with express language than they do with understanding speech and language, that is, receptive language skills are typically more advanced than expressive language skills. Certain linguistic areas, such as vocabulary, are usually easier for children with Down syndrome than other areas, such as grammar. Sequencing of sounds and of words may be difficult for many children. Many children have difficulties with intelligibility of speech and articulation. Some children have fluency problems. Some children use short phrases, while others have long conversations. All of the speech and language problems that children with Down syndrome demonstrate are faced by other children as well. There are no speech and language problems unique to children with Down syndrome. This means that there is a great deal of knowledge and experience that can be applied to helping a child with Down syndrome with his / her specific areas of challenge.
The speech and language treatment program should be individually designed based on a careful evaluation of each child's communications patterns and needs. It is especially important to include the family as part of the treatment team. The child, family (including siblings and extended family), teacher, friends, and community members can all contribute to the child's communication success. The speech-language pathologist can guide, inform, and help facilitate and enhance the process of learning to communicate effectively. But language is part of daily living and must be practiced and reinforced as part of daily life.