Speech and language development
I have written before about Coraline’s first cold at 10 months old (as we had been working hard to keep her well until then on the advice of her Cardiologist). I wrote at the time that a cold can last longer for a baby with Down’s Syndrome as lower muscle tone makes it harder to clear the mucus. Coraline also has narrower tubes. Coraline’s first cold lasted two and a half weeks.
This state of congestion is called glue ear. Coraline’s Community Paediatrician explained that glue ear is like holding your hands over your ears and listening to someone. This fluctuating inability to hear properly for periods of time can have an effect on speech and language development. Children with Down’s Syndrome have an increased risk of hearing difficulty either through congestion or underlying permanent hearing loss. Coraline has regular Audiology checks to check her hearing.
We would expect that it’s likely Coraline will start to talk from about 24-36 months, whilst for typical babies it’s likely to be from 10-18 months. She will work to develop clear speech. Speech can be an area which requires extra input due to factors like temporary hearing loss when she has a cold, low oral muscle tone and listening memory skills. It can be that there will be a delay in her talking relative to her comprehension.
We are currently going to Makaton sign language classes as a bridge to speech, and I will post more about these this week. Due to the listening memory skills, sign language is also great as it helps to make language visual for Coraline.