Children with Down syndrome show a developmental delay in three broad categories: motor skills, social/self-help skills and expressive language skills. That doesn’t mean that they are bereft of any and all skills. In fact, every individual is born with a unique talent.
Children with Down syndrome have strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else, and there are music therapists who identify and assess those strengths and weaknesses. They design customized treatment plans for such children to help them cope with their weaknesses.
Let’s delve into out how music helps children with Down syndrome.
Benefits of Music Therapy
There is a range of areas that music therapy targets to help those with Down syndrome.
To keep a child engaged, music therapists would add listening to a song to their list of activities. This helps the children in their multi-tasking skills (by listening to the song while doing other activities) and builds in them an ability to respond appropriately to varying music stimuli.
Gross Motor Skills
Children with Down syndrome suffer from a lack of balance. They face trouble walking straight and maintaining regular pace when performing any action. Dancing to a song strengthens motor skills and even helps with cognitive skills such as memory.
Fine Motor Skills
Listening to music will eventually lead to them taking interest in making music. Playing musical instruments helps improve and maintain the child’s finger dexterity. It enhances their grip and gives them more control over their body.
Oral Motor Skills
Singing enhances communication and expression. For instance, singing “Old McDonald” helps a child with Down syndrome get a better grasp of vowels. Where they were struggling with completing sentences before, songs give them a structure they can follow in their speech.
For parents of children who suffer from Down syndrome, please don’t ignore the power of music. It can help your child in unimaginable ways.