Teaching Motor Skills to Children Translates Across Languages

Parents struggling with how to help their kids with Down syndrome learn to walk, balance, run and climb are getting help from a recent workshop that’s being touted in multiple languages.

Pat Winders, senior physical therapist at the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado, led sessions on “Gross Motor Development in Children with DS” at the National Down Syndrome Congress’ national convention in Washington, D.C. One of the people in attendance was Ana Virginia Garroni, the mother of 3-year-old Otto and the author of a popular South American blog, “El Mundo de Otto,” or “The World of Otto.”

The workshop was offered with simultaneous interpretation, and now Garroni is helping spread the word in Spanish of best care practices and intervention strategies back home in Venezuela.

“Children with Down syndrome want to do what all children want to do,” Winders says on her biography at the Crnic Institute.  “They want to learn to sit, crawl, walk, explore the environment, and interact with the people around them.”

Since joining the Sie Center in December of 2007, Winders has seen nearly 250 patients and has launched several programs with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, including the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Class with the Colorado Ballet and the Ed McCaffrey Dare to Play Football and Cheer Camps. Her position at the Sie Center has allowed her to mentor other physical therapists, participate in important gross motor skills research, and update the definitive book that she researched and wrote — Gross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals.

The Sie Center for Down Syndrome is part of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.

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