DIY At-Home Therapy for Children with Down Syndrome

Our Kids are Missing School

During these crazy times of social distancing and remote learning, we must be diligent in keeping up with our children’s therapies. Faith is usually pretty good at occupying herself, when I’m teaching my 5th graders through zoom lessons. Although, it’s obvious she misses her teachers and her friends, when she signs “school, teacher and friends”. The social interaction is so important for all children. Our kids are lonely and sometimes bored. It’s been a struggle to get her interested in her own zoom lessons. She needs quick, to-the-point, musical, fun interactions. She loves being ‘hands-on’, which is something we’re all missing, while learning remotely. I worry about her missing her lessons and therapy. As a teacher, myself, I know all too well, how challenging it is to keep my students attention. I try new and creative lessons, often, that will make it more fun and entertaining for them. I must say, Faith’s teachers and therapists are working very hard at making their zoom meetings engaging. Having said that, every child learns in a different way. For the most part, zoom lessons, unless musical or physical, just don’t work for Faith. So, I have to supplement at home. I’d like to share what I am doing. Hopefully, you can take away one or two that you can use with your child.

What I am Doing At Home

As a teacher, I’m used to making learning not seem like school ‘work’. After a couple decades in education, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. There are countless ways to teach through play. Learning through ‘doing’ is fun for all of us, at any age or ability level. Here is a list of activities I do with Faith. She loves that I play with her and learning is then not only beneficial for her educational goals, but quality mommy-daughter time, as well.

  1. Puzzles- works on fine motor skills, spacial awareness and problem solving; Occupational Therapy, Speech and Math
  2. Baking- works on fine motor skills, hand strengthening; Occupational Therapy, Speech and Life Skills

3. Piggy Bank- sorting coins, learning which is which, putting in the slot; works on fine motor skills, counting and money: Occupational Therapy, Speech and Math

4. Playing outside- kicking/throwing and catching a ball; works on gross motor skills, hand/foot eye coordination: Physical Therapy, Speech and Physical Education

5. Walk outside- long walks (extending time and pace with time), collecting or observing and discussing leaves, flowers, birds; works on gross motor skills, appreciation and education of nature: Physical Therapy, Speech, Physical Education and Science.

6. House Chores- dishes, laundry and vacuuming; works on fine and gross motor skills, coordination: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Life Skills

7. Big Girl Like Mommy- getting dressed, brushing teeth, washing face and hands, fixing hair; works on fine and gross motor skills, coordination, self-care, hygiene: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Health and Life Skills.

8. Corn hole/Bowling/Skee-Ball- (she has these games at home, but they can easily be made with paper towels as bowling pins, bean bags or small balls in buckets) under-hand toss or roll; works on hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, coordination, following directions: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physical Education, Speech and Life Skills.

9. Boggle- reading, spelling, signing and saying words; works on literacy, builds vocabulary: Reading, Spelling, and Speech.

10. Library- choose any three books and snuggle up; works on literacy, builds vocabulary, imagination: Reading, Spelling, Speech and most important… cuddle time!

Keep in Touch

Have you developed your own ways of home-schooling fun? What are your obstacles? Drop your comments below. I’d love to hear what you have tried and what works for you and your child. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Get creative. Do the best you can. There is a opportunity for learning in all that we do. Learning can be fun. Enjoy 🙂 Stay well!

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