Down syndrome. Perhaps you know someone diagnosed with the extra chromosome 21: those irresistible individuals with knowing eyes, loving hands, and huge hearts. So what is behind down syndrome and how can we best maximize the gifts and help with the challenges? Aside from early intervention and special education, can a multisensory room be of help and what are the down syndrome sensory benefits?
Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in 800 newborns. It is a chromosomal condition that is associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and weak muscle tone (hypotonia) in infancy. All affected individuals experience cognitive delays, but the intellectual disability is usually mild to moderate.
In addition, physical development in children with Down syndrome is often slower than the development of children without Down syndrome. For example, because of poor muscle tone, a child with Down syndrome may be slow to learn to turn over, sit, stand, and walk. Despite these delays, children with Down syndrome can learn to participate in physical exercise activities like other children.3 It may take children with Down syndrome longer than other children to reach developmental milestones, but they will eventually meet many of these milestones.2
Cognitive impairment, problems with thinking and learning, is common in people with Down syndrome and usually ranges from mild to moderate. Only rarely is Down syndrome associated with severe cognitive impairment.1
Individuals with Down syndrome can learn to participate and excel at almost any activity, but their motivation may be lower than average. So it is imperative that they are exposed and encouraged to participate in regular physical activity. For those who are less motivated, a multisensory room can assist as it reduces the extraneous sensory information that may interfere with sensory-motor processing. In a multisensory room, body awareness and position and its relationship to the environment is heightened and more easily learned. For example, if I see a tantalizing light that I want to touch, or an interactive tunnel to crawl through, I may be more motivated to move. Down syndrome sensory products offer more than just sensory skills development but also emotional development.
A multisensory room is a sensory integration nirvana where sound, sights, touch, and smell can be controlled and directed to provide the clearest and most effective sensory diet. For those with slower development, this can accelerate motor skills as well as Down syndrome sensory processing. Learning through touch, sight, hearing, smell, body position, and motion can all help with cognitive development as well as improve endorphin levels and mood.
How I get from point A to point B or how I use a switch to activate a response all require motor planning. A multisensory room can have options for stimulating motor planning such as learning how to activate a switch, or how to engage with lighting, sounds, and touch, all of which can require planning and motor execution. Other activities that are useful for motor planning are slides, ladders, balance beams, obstacle courses, and ball play.
At the heart of our development is our need to communicate and this communication can take on a variety of forms. A multisensory room environment can provide several ways to communicate, from touch to microphones to voice to switch activated voice responses. So, for those diagnosed with Down syndrome, this can really enhance speech and communication skills with a secure, safe multisensory environmental approach.
Encouraging an individual with Down syndrome to learn to move, think, and become self-sufficient requires more than just goal setting. It may benefit to provide a space where interaction is self-driven and the environment responds in return. Need assistance with your personal or institutional multisensory room? Want to discuss how it can fit your environment? Reach out to us. We are here to help!
Multisensory environments can be massively beneficial for dementia patients. Learn more about how to create an effective sensory room for dementia.
Developing, maintaining and improving fine motor skills is key at all stages of life. We take a look at a few ways to keep those fine motor skills sharp in both children and adults.
We take a look at what you should include or avoid when ensuring that an environment is suitable for someone with dementia.
If you know a senior living in an assisted living facility, these tips are a great way to reconnect, bond and entertain yourselves in a fun and accessible way.
At the heart of every sensory room are calming sensory lights. Sensory lights provide stunning effects and help to create stimulating environments for all needs
The benefits of indoor play for children's development are endless! Sensory soft play is very popular with children of all ages and needs as soft play provides a safe and fun environment for them to explore and hone their skills.
There are many multi-sensory room benefits and creating a multi-sensory room is a fantastic way to provide a safe and interactive environment for users to explore their senses and improve the way they process new information
Though difficulty with sensory integration can be a developmental hurdle for those with ASD, a sensory room for an autistic child can help them facilitate communication, engage with sensory skills, and develop motor skills, among many other benefits.
As a hidden disability, dyslexia symptoms can often be hard to recognize, especially the signs of dyslexia in toddlers and early signs of dyslexia in children
According to The Society for Neuroscience, headquartered in Washington DC, an astonishing 5 to 15 percent of Americans have dyslexia, making it difficult for them to spell, read, and write.
With the school year coming to an end, investing in sensory equipment for schools is an excellent way to make learning facilities more inclusive for years to come and put leftover budget dollars to good use.
Outdoor sensory play activities provide the opportunity to immerse young minds in their senses in a new environment
An occupational therapy sensory room will provide a host of benefits for individuals with sensory processing disorder (SPD).
If you know or care for someone with autism, you’ll understand how difficult it can sometimes be to communicate with them.
Engaging in sensory activities for kids with cerebral palsy is incredibly beneficial and important for their development.
Individuals that have Alzheimer’s or dementia may also experience anxiety.
What is stimming? Also known as self-stimulatory behavior, different types of stimming are a common occurrence in people with autism and sensory processing difficulties.
All over the world, people’s regular routines have been disrupted in impactful ways, due to the restrictions in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Sensory rooms can work wonders for people who face sensory challenges. But, sometimes, you need access to these sensory tools on-the-go.