Daycare and Down Syndrome Concerns to Consider
What is a parent to do when working outside the home is a necessity? When you have a special needs child, in this case, one with Down Syndrome, there are some concerns you should consider when choosing a facility for your child. We spoke with a New York based physical therapist who has 22 years of experience and he shared that with Daycare and Down Syndrome concerns to consider include a term he uses called “Container Syndrome.”
Jake Kreindler is the founder of the instagram account @getyourbabymoving and has some great points to share:
Babies with Down Syndrome have some unique challenges – low muscle tone, delayed milestones, and potential cardiac issues, to name a few. When it comes to getting your baby’s gross motor skills up to par, it goes without saying that parents need to be vigilant about making sure that the odds are stacked in their favor.
In my 22 years of practice, I have done numerous sessions with babies at daycare facilities and at babysitter’s homes. While most are caring and loving, they are frequently trying to take care of several babies at once. This leads to what I call “container syndrome” – placing kids in one “container” for long periods of time, to keep them from moving around and requiring more attention.
I have lost count of how many times I will enter a home or facility and see one baby in a playpen, 3 kids in high chairs, a baby resting in a swing, another kid sleeping in a carseat, 5 kids in exersaucers for hours on end,…..well, you get the point!
Babies, especially children with gross motor delays or tendency towards delay, like our precious babies with Down Syndrome, need lots of practice time on the floor. When in daycare down syndrome concerns include lack of floor time. They need the freedom to try new positions and milestones, explore toys, and observe their environment. Placing children in “containers” for long periods of time is holding them back from their potential and function.
Sadly, speaking to the staff rarely yields changes. Changes need to come from the directors, owners, and authority figures. As parents, you have the power to affect changes! Speak to the person at daycare with the highest authority and explain your concerns. Educate them on the importance of tummy time and time spent on the floor. And if you get nowhere with them, seriously consider another facility or option.
I need to clarify one point: putting a child in something for up to 15 minutes a day will not cause any harm. The harmful part is when the container becomes the babysitter!
So what can you tell the daycare to ensure that they ARE stimulating your baby’s physical development? Ask them to place the baby in his or her MOST AGE APPROPRIATE, SAFE POSITION. So if, for instance, your baby is a year old and can bear weight on her legs, even if she isn’t walking, ask them to stand her at surfaces with toys. Or if she is 7 months, but not yet sitting, place her in a sitting position surrounded by pillows in case she falls. If your baby is younger than 7 months, place her on her tummy as the default position. Reaching milestones require the brain to reach new levels of maturity. By challenging your baby with age-appropriate positions, the brain will provoke these new levels of maturity and help reach gross motor milestones.