DSDN asked its member mom bloggers to tackle the subject of Early Intervention the month of July. Every week you will see a blog post on our mom's thoughts and experiences with EI in regards to their child with Down syndrome. All opinions expressed are their own.
So many worries went through my head in the early days of Kaleb’s diagnosis. The obvious was worry about the future. What would his life look like? What was his potential? Which of course led to thoughts of milestones and skill progression.
Some of my friends have used #selftaught to brag about the milestones their child has accomplished. Nothing at all wrong with this. We all love to show off our child. I feared how this momma’s heart would handle it when my child was not only not “self-taught” but taught due to a lot more time, effort, and a team of therapists. Not only are they not self-taught, but what about when your child isn't doing milestones in the "typical" timeline and might be towards the end range of the Down syndrome timeline, or even past it?
These were my fears when Kaleb was a baby. To be completely honest, I worried this would affect my ability to bond with Kaleb. Would these delays affect our relationship? I worried about having to go to therapy. I stressed about having a kid who would have an IFSP and an IEP.
I told myself, as many probably have, that maybe my kid will be different. My kid might be on the early end of the milestones. If I pushed him hard enough, if I treated him the same as Kaden, if I got him the right therapy, and bought him the right developmental toys, he'd be alright and he'd get there sooner. While I think there is something to be said for therapists, Early Intervention, parental interactions, and toys with a developmental purpose; at the end of the day Kaleb is Kaleb. He will do his own thing, in his own way, and own time. Me, trying to find the right mixture of things does nothing but add stress. It is the worry, that I’ve found, which causes frustration, and not Kaleb’s progress.
Now at 21 months, 19 months adjusted age, I'm learning it’s okay. Kaleb has his strengths which include his fine motor skills, his quickness on learning to eat, drink from a straw cup, and socialization. One crazy early milestone is working on going in the potty. However, he is pretty delayed in gross motor skills. He's not four point crawling, standing, pulling up, and definitely not walking. We are still working to getting him to pull to sit.
What I've realized is; it's all okay. It’s okay that it’s team taught instead of self-taught. Kaleb is surrounded by a great team. A team which includes his parents, brother, grandparents, therapists, doctors, daycare workers, and everyone who encourages him.
Just as with any typical child or adult Kaleb has his strengths and weaknesses. Through this early intervention I have come to appreciate him. His personality and his heart. I love celebrating these inchstones with him. Each and every inch stone is special to me because I know how hard he has worked to get there.
It’s okay that it takes longer to reach milestones and we tend to get to a lot of inchstones before milestones. It’s okay to be both frustrated when he once again knocks his cup in the floor but then pleased as he signs milk then claps and laughs because he knows it’s something he shouldn’t do. It’s awesome that some kids naturally progress and reach these milestones. It makes for even bigger and sweeter celebrations knowing just how hard Kaleb has worked to reach them.
I’ve learned that with my educational background I will use play to observe development. However, I’ve learned that while it’s okay to work on skills, not to get so caught up in milestones. I continue to work to simply be in the moment and be present for my son. When he’s ten it won’t matter at what age he crawled or walked. What will matter is the support and love he felt and remembers from me. What will matter will be our memories of finally reaching these inchstones and milestones. In this house we will proudly be #teamtaught.
Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments. –Rose Kennedy
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