Dr. James D. MacDonald's Website
Helping Parents Help Children. Programs for Parents, Therapists & Educators
In over 25 years of work with families and children, the Down syndrome population has been of special interest to me. Our first parent programs, that built the ECO programs in the 1970s, began with exciting successes with preschoolers with Down syndrome.
Within the last five years, I have followed up several of our children with Down syndrome, sadly to find that many of them had also become socially isolated and communicated a lot less than the knowledge they had.
I was very concerned. Consequently, I now work with groups of parents of infants with Down syndrome in order to impress on them the absolute importance of strongly socializing these children and not expecting it will happen automatically.
Below, Barbara Mitchell describes our five-year relationship with her son, Mark. Please read her story carefully and several times as she has identified many important processes needed to help a child with Down syndrome become as engaging, creative, humorous and adaptable as Mark has become. It is a powerful example of how parents can help a child with delays become a responsive, social, and communicative partner.
After all these years, I am confident that parents can help children with Down syndrome give and get a great deal in life if they are willing to do a few simple but often difficult things: