How I Put a Positive Spin on the Negative Terms Doctors Use Regarding Down Syndrome


I am a mum of a beautiful little girl who has Down syndrome. I receive endless reports from pediatricians, ophthalmologists, audiologists and other specialists about my child. I didn’t even know what an audiologist did before I had our daughter, or what the difference was between an optician and an ophthalmologist! I soon got fed up with the report beginning with a diagnosis, which was sometimes termed “problems,” including Trisomy 21, global developmental delay, motor delay — then a list of how this all presents itself. It was all very “doom and gloom” until I started to have some fun with the terms.

So here they are, with a positive spin:

1. Global Developmental Delay

It sounds very official, doesn’t it? But, there are many benefits to not having to rush to get to the next stage. There is no need to panic if your baby does not reach their developmental milestones at the “right” age because Down syndrome has its own milestones and children meet those milestones when they are ready. You’ll hear this a lot, but there is something quite nice about not seeing your baby grow at a rate of knots. You’ll have more time to enjoy each stage.

2. Low Muscle Tone/Hypotonia

Who said good muscle tone was universal? I have terrible upper body strength. We just notice low muscle tone more in babies with Down syndrome. It might mean your baby feels as if he melts in your arms. Lucky us.

3. Hyper Flexibility

To me, this is so cool! This means your child will be able to fold themselves in two and eat their feet. People spend a fortune going to yoga to be able to do that.

4. Slow Processing (not a technical term)

I think of it as what others call “mindfulness,” or spending more time on one thing, appreciating where you are and what you are doing at this very minute. Our daughter has got this sorted. No stress, no rush, just figuring out how everything works in her own good time. There is a lot we can all learn from that.

Our little girl is a positive influence on us every day and everyone else she comes in contact with. She has already taught me to be “mindful,” to focus more on the task at hand and enjoy every moment.

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