Saturday, October 29, 2011

ABC's and 123's

I can not say it enough, but it is so important to remember that children with special needs are more like other children without special needs, than they are different!  While children and adults with Down syndrome experience developmental delays, they also have  many talents and gifts and should be given the opportunity and encouragement to develop them.  Most children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate impairments.  Some high school graduates with Down syndrome  participate in post-secondary education and many adults with Down syndrome are capable of working in the community.

It is very important to stimulate, encourage, and educate children with Down syndrome from infancy.  Programs for young children with special needs are offered in many communities.  Early intervention programs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy can be very helpful.

Like all children, children with Down syndrome greatly benefit from being able to learn and explore in a safe and supportive environment.  Being included in family, community and preschool life will help a child with Down syndrome develop to his or her full potential.  While social development and social learning are often quite good, development in other areas such as motor skills, speech and  language are usually delayed.  Many children with Down syndrome eventually reach most developmental milestones.   

When it comes to Sophia, I have done very little differently in helping to teach her to be the best Sophia that she can be, then what I did with Jayden.  Of course things take longer and we have to use a lot of repetition with her, but on those days when we are least expecting it, POW, she does exactly what we have been practicing for days, weeks or maybe even months, and that is when I know, all that hard work was worth it!!!  I treat Sophia no differently than I treat Jayden.  I expect the same things from Sophia that I expected from Jayden when she was at that same stage in her life.  I know that Sophia is very capable of a lot of things, but I also know that her strong will and stubborness can interfere sometimes, and we just have to push all of that aside and make her understand that she does want to to do all of these wonderful things, because even though they seem hard, the outcome will be amazing!  I will never "settle" when it comes to either one of my girls and their education.  I know that both of my girls are very smart and they both have their own strengths and weaknesses.  And together we will work on their weaknesses and continue to build on their strengths.   

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