Front of the Bus

Our latest issue is also one of the first we had to face once we began Madeline’s inclusion track at our local school: the dreaded school bus. Ever since Alexa began going to school she got to ride the bus, and Madeline would stand on the porch and wave to her big sister. She would … Continue reading Front of the Bus

The Thin Line

My daughter Madeline has Down syndrome, and I’ll admit I knew almost nothing about it when we first found out. For the vast majority of my life it didn’t affect me so I didn’t bother to get information on it. Instead I lived in a sort of dream world where I thought that since it … Continue reading The Thin Line

Identifying the Cow

cowMy youngest daughter has Down syndrome, and she struggles with identifying words, so after consulting with her teacher, and with her speech therapist, and after reading the developmental books, my wife decided to come up with activities geared towards helping her recognize and repeat simple words she should know by now. It’s amazing to me how much she does know, actually, so this afternoon I ran through the exercise with her to see her level.

The sheet is all about animals. In fact, my wife laminated it for sustainability (and she can use it as a placemat too if needed), and made move able cards to place over top of the sheet as well. On the sheet are photographs of six animals. There’s a dog, a cat, a duck, a pig, a horse, and of course the infamous cow. My job was to point to the animal’s picture and Maddie would tell me which animal it was. She identified all of them this way except for the cow. She called it a dog, refusing to accept it’s true name, which had me truly baffled.

So I tried a different tactic. I asked her what noise did that animal make, and she said “moo,” so it was clear she realized it wasn’t a dog. But why was she saying dog? So I went back after she said “moo” and asked her again the name of the animal. This time she promptly said cow. Perhaps it was just that triggering of the animal sound that made the difference. Cows do indeed say “moo.”

Then we moved on to the back of the cards that held the spelled out names of each animal, something that has long been her Achilles heel. She can generally recognize the individual letters but placing them together in words confuses her. That’s why she spent the better part of five minutes arguing with me that the one that said “cat” was in fact the one that said “cow.” She saw the “c” and didn’t look any further, which became frustrating for her and for me. Continue reading “Identifying the Cow”

Down With It: Modifying Life For My Daughter

There are so many things you prepare for as an expectant parent. In fact, these days you can sign up for something called a baby registry that you yourself design and that people spend money on to make these necessities (and wants) a reality for you and yours. There are diaper genies, Dr. Brown’s bottles, nursery mobiles, and everything else under the sun to make a baby welcome in this world, or to make your life as a parent that much easier. But nobody, and no registry, prepares you for having a child with Down syndrome.

I talked about my daughter Madeline in Breaking it Down: My Special Daughter, and how shocked we were as parents even when we initially suspected shortly after her birth that she had Down syndrome. She has continued to surprise us as she has grown from a little ball of joy into a big girl at 4 1/2 years old now. Some days I honestly don’t know where the time went, and on others I wonder why it hasn’t gone fast enough. Continue reading “Down With It: Modifying Life For My Daughter”