Recommendations for Christmas for a very special baby?
November 19, 2017 4:10 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for recommendations for toys/books etc that Santa could bring. I especially want to find things which other Downs kids have loved and found useful for aiding their development.

Our daughter Ellie was born with Downs Syndrome and several complex heart conditions, which necessitated 4 operations in her first 3 months. She is due to undergo an open heart surgery in Jan/Feb 2018 in London and so we want to give her a special Christmas beforehand.
Ellie is high functioning, she is already walking at age 2 which we have been told is good for a child with her conditions and is babbling words and using some Makaton sign language
posted by mrbenn to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My youngest brother Jon has Down's Syndrome, and although this is going back a fair while (he's in his mid-20s now), one specific thing he adored as a toddler was Dave Benson Phillips' Makaton Nursery Rhymes, which really helped with his speech and signing skills. The DVD is available here, but it's also on YouTube in full here. (Warning: This programme permeated family culture to such an extent that to this day none of the family can recite a nursery rhyme without doing it in Dave’s exact cadence and delivery.)

I’ll rack my memory a bit more, and also ring my parents to ask them what specific toys, books, etc. they recall being especially useful to, or enjoyed by, Jon at that age. I'll ask him too. :)

Fingers crossed that Ellie's operation goes smoothly - I’ll be thinking of you all.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 7:20 AM on November 19, 2017 [4 favorites]


Best wishes that Ellie's next surgery will go well!

As to toys, you may have already checked out google and parent forums and these should continue to be good complementary resources. In my past experience, toys for children with DS at this age often center around developing specific skill sets (as with any child at this age) and so can be any good toy towards that goal with perhaps a special eye towards easy visibility and easy to use controls. If/when Ellie likes dolls, there are dolls with Down Syndrome features including one who has the scar from heart surgery but I can't find that model right now. And keep in mind of course, Ellie will have her own special interests -my uncle with DS loved comic books, baseball, and card games.
posted by beaning at 10:03 AM on November 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Look for a wedge (aka cheese, aka incline) mat. Amazon has a bunch, sometimes marketed for gymnastics, sometimes foldable. Look for a size that she could climb around on. They are fun for crawling, running and jumping from the top, rolling down, sliding on, etc. Since Ellie sounds like a mover, I bet she would have a blast!
posted by deadcrow at 11:07 AM on November 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


I picked up a Bilbo seat from a neighbours pavement donation pile when my daughter was about 3 years old. It is a wobbly round seat shaped like a dome which was originally designed for children with special needs. She doesnt have downs syndrome or any special needs but I found that the seat was really good for developing balance and core strength (sorry cant link on phone). If you are near Bristol then pm me as we still have the Bilbo. Wishing her and you a speedy recovery from her surgery and a very happy Christmas.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 2:37 PM on November 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone for the replies and good wishes so far - it means a lot
The surgery is to take place in London as Northern Ireland no longer has capability to perform paediatric cardiac surgeries and so all kids (dozens per year) have to be flown to London away from their families to have their operation. It is scandalous really but that is the ever-stretched NHS.
If you want to see more of Ellie here is her appearance on the local news in NI - also featuring myself and her mummy

Stephen
posted by mrbenn at 11:37 PM on November 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


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