12 Popular Developmental Therapy Posts For Children With Down Syndrome You Might Have Missed

children with down syndrome physical occupational therapy

“Work hard, play harder….that’s my motto!” -Noah

Since Noah’s physical and occupational therapy visits are such a huge part of our life (Noah goes 4 times a week!) we’ve written a lot about it on our site. In fact, we have an entire category detected to them!

When Noah was born we would often look online trying to find ideas of things we could do to help him grow and develop, and we wanted to share our experiences with those who may find themselves in our shoes at some point. Also, after starting this website we’ve connected with many families in countries outside of the United States who don’t have access to the same quality of resources (or any resources) for their children with Down syndrome, and have found these types of posts helpful.

We aren’t by any means experts, but we enjoy sharing what we are learning and hope it’s encouraging and helpful to others. (By the way, we also enjoy learning from all of you as you take time to share what you have learned with us; thank you for teaching us so much this last 20 months!)

With so many of these types of posts on our site, it’s easy for some of the nuggets to become hidden in an archive of past posts. So, I thought I’d take an opportunity to share several of our most popular physical and occupational therapy posts. You’ll notice that many of them help with one of the main characteristics of Down syndrome, hypotonia. I hope you find them helpful.

12 Therapy Posts For Children With Down Syndrome You Don’t Want To Miss

1. How A Slide Helps Our 10 Month Old Develop Abs Of Steel

2. How Supported Kneeling Helps Children Build Leg Muscles

3. How Occupational Therapy Helps Your Child With Down Syndrome Learn To Play

4. 2 Ways Swings Help Children With Sensory Integration

5. 1 Super Tip On How To Choose The Best Developmental Motivator For Your Child

6. Learning To Crawl With An Exercise Ball, and Why Every Child With Down Syndrome Should Have One

7. Free Download: Procedures To Use The Treadmill Training In Infants With Down Syndrome

8. Help Your Child Learn To Grasp With This Easy Exercise You Can Do At Home

9. 3 Characteristics To Look For In Your Child’s Physical Therapist

10. Four Cheap (But Effective) Child Developmental Tools

11. 1 Major Goal Of Physical Therapy For Children Born Down Syndrome

12. 4 Reasons You Should Use an Exercise Ball For Hypotonia

Bonus Post: Top Resources For New and Expecting Parents Of A Child Born With Down Syndrome

In that last post we list some of the best developmental books for children with Down syndrome. In them you’ll find some excellent (and easy to do) occupational and physical therapy exercises that you can do at home. Those books were some of the most helpful ones we picked up, and I think they are a great addition to any new parent of a child born with Down syndrome’s library.

I hope you found these posts helpful, and please leave a comment below letting us know what sorts of posts you’d like to see in the future, which ones you found most helpful, etc. We want to try our best to create them for you. Also what sorts of things is your child learning / doing in therapy these days? Leave a comment and tell us about it. (And yes, it’s ok to brag!) 🙂


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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. This is wonderful, thank you! It takes a long time to sort through all the different topics in books and online as a new parent.

  2. I love all of the post showing what Noah is doing in therapy. Levi is 10 months and it helps me advacate things I would like to see for him. Levi is now working on the treadmill and also a wedge and big bouncy ball. In speech he is using the z vibe tool. We have learner a lot of what to ask for from you and your wife.
    Thank you

    • It sounds like you guys are rocking it!

      We got a lot of use out of our Z-vibe (still do actually.)

      Keep up the great work!

    • Dear Jody, I’d love to get in contact with you directly. Maybe NOAH’S DAD can help us. I have a 9 month old. I’d love to talk with more DS parents with kids the same age as my little one. Thanks!

  3. Love this post! Do you mind if I link to it on my PT blog? You two are such incredible parents. =)

    • Tana,

      Thanks so much for the very kind words. I really appreciate it. We sure enjoy being this little guy’s parents.

      Feel free to link to it on your blog. We’d appreciate that.

      What sort of therapy do you do by the way?

  4. Rick,

    This post is incredible!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the insight. The educational process for our family as we prepare for our son to join our family (coming Spring 2013) has been very helpful. We are so grateful that God has given us the honor of traveling out of the country to bring him into our family. Our concern is that he is receiving some sort of therapy now (He turned 2 in July) hopefully we will be traveling to bring him home before He is three. Sites like this and suggestions like we read from other is proving to be such a valuable resource. Thanks again for sharing. Your family is such a blessing.

    Rick Deerman

  5. Dale Ulrich says

    Glad to see that some parents are beginning the treadmill training by 10-11 months of age. As long as the infant is willing to take a few steps while supported by you on the treadmill, they are ready to begin.
    For those parents who have an infant at 4-6 months of age, one other strategy we have studied and reported to prepare the infant for the treadmill and to walk earlier is the use of a kicking device. The infant lays on their back under the overhead mobile and when they kick their leg (s) and their feet make contact with the kick pad, it provides a series of reinforcers (burst of lights, short musical sounds, spinning over head toy, etc) which teaches them that their leg kicking is what gets them the reinforcers. The result is higher frequency of kicking, leg strength, and better control of their legs which are needed for crawling and walking. Hasbo made the Kick start gym and Fisher Price made a similar kicking device. Other toy companies also had some similar devices. Unfortunately I can only find them now in used children’s toy/clothing stores.

    • Thanks Dr. Ulrich! What an honor to have you comment on our blog 🙂 Noah had the kick piano by Fisher Price in his crib until he started using it as a stepping device to try to escape 🙂 thanks for the helpful advice and for taking an interest in hypotonia and doing research to help our children. Have a great day!

  6. Hi Rick! Thank you so much for your blog and information! 🙂 I am a new DS parent – Emma Sophia is 2.5 months now. She has her first physical therapy appt next week – I could not open #9 on your list – it says it is not found. I would love to read it – thanks! 🙂

    • Congratulations on your new baby! I’d love to hear more about your story. Did you guys receive a prenatal diagnosis? How is the doing health wise? (And how are you guys doing?) 🙂

      By the way, I’ve fixed that link. It should be working now, thanks for telling me about it.

      • Ruth Motley says

        Thanks for asking. I just posted Emma’s newborn pic to your “remember your newborn” post. We did not get prenatal testing and so we learned of it right after she was born. Pretty shocked. Still going through waves of shock. Health wise – she is amazing. She had to stay in the NICU to get through some pulmonary hypertension but other than that she is very healthy and her doctors are thrilled with her progress. My husband and I are Christians as well so we know the Lord is in control and we just love her to death. She brings our family so much joy. God is changing so much in me through her (and here I thought I was perfect! 😉
        I loved the therapy post btw, thanks so much for all of your posts. Noah is so cute!

  7. My daughter is 16 months and already taking steps with out any kind of therapy. BUT, that’s because ECI wouldn’t give it to her. It was kinda up to me to do the therapy, as I worked in the PT department for 5 years at an old job. I finally got her into an out patient clinic 2 weeks ago. She still needs gait training. She falls alot. I WISH i could have gotten her in sooner. AND they are only going to see her once a week. I wish they would see her 4 times a week. I have opted out of ECI. She wasn’t even getting speech until I once again found someone on my own. She has only been getting Speech for the past 3 weeks. All this time I was with ECI, I did not know I could go “outside” of them. It wasn’t until I read one of your post on FB about finding the right therapist that I went out on my own to find her someone new. Thanks so much. I enjoy reading your stories and Noah is just so darn cute!

  8. Hi Rick,
    Thank you so much for posting these!!! My little guy is 20 months old and just started walking full time!!! His first step was at 15 months, but due to lack of therapy visits it was just me working hard with him for next 3 months afterwards. When his therapist came back he just started taking off. I tried post of these things with Eli just out of habit with my oldest but I am so glad to see everything that I was doing with him was helping him in some way!!! So thank you….I knew he was walking because of me!!!! haha You two are incredible parents and are making wonderous strides in the community. I applaud your efforts and sharing your story with everyone!!!! We are due to have another baby here in 8 weeks, and found out his risk of having Down Syndome is 1 in 2, so a 50/50 chance. If we are the small number in the population to have 2 children with DS, I may end up posting my own site for parents with multiple children with Down Syndrome! I wouldn’t change anything for the world if this little guy does but it sure makes for an interesting/challenging lifestyle!

  9. Hi Rick,

    I’m in Dallas, and my 3-month-old was just diagnosed with hypotonia. We were referred to Our Children’s House at Baylor, and they can’t get him in for an evaluation until October. I have a wonderful friend who’s a PT that meets your 3 characteristics beautifully, and she can come to our house starting immediately. Any reason I should hold out for Baylor? I’m thrilled to find someone who has used them. Also, if there are any other Dallas resources you’ve found helpful (he’s not DS, but the hypotonia is severe), I’d love to hear about them! What a wonderful site.

  10. #3 and #4 links are broken – they both 404’ed me. I am still getting through the others will let you know if I find more.

    • Wow, thanks for pointing those out to me. They all be fixed now. Let me know if you see any other issues, and if you have any questions on any of the posts! 🙂

  11. #6 – I need that one NOW! learning to crawl with an exercise ball – another page 404.

  12. Here it is – http://noahsdad.com/learning-crawl-exercise-ball/
    I used the search function. Will you be checking the rest of the links or should I continue to let you know about broken ones?

    • Great way to use the search box!

      Thanks do much for letting me know about those broken links. They should all be working now. Let me know if you have any other trouble.

  13. Bobbie Gregg says

    My Baby is 10 days old. Is there anything special I should be doing for him now?

  14. Grandma Kathy says

    Are you using signing for your child and what do you think of using it ?

  15. Dorothy Cheney says

    Hi, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your page and all the resources for parents of a child with Down Syndrome. My daughter Taylor has DS, is 3 1/2 years old, and just started an Early Head Start program as well as going to occupational and speech therapy 4x per week. She is learning to use sign language and is beginning to verbalize some words as well. I am so proud of her for all her hard work! I can relate to all of your posts from eating to playing, to going to therapy to simply feeling incredibly blessed to be the parent of such a wonderful child. I look forward to more of your posts. Cherish each day with Noah and I will do the same with Taylor.

    Dorothy Cheney

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