Sunday, June 19, 2011

John: Learning and Growing

It has been a while since my last visit to the blogworld and much has happened. We continue to be blessed with a little Down syndrome boy who never got the memo that he was supposed to be delayed. We have also been blessed by hearing and reading about others with children with Down syndrome. There are a lot of people out there that really love their children and work to do what is best for them even though the best way isn't always clear.

John continues to grow and to learn new things. Besides being the youngest of 5 children, he attends daycare 2 to 3 days a week. He is the only child there with Down syndrome but that doesn't stop him from doing what the others are doing or having friends. The other children motivate him to do things that we hadn't tried at home. For example, we hadn't allowed him to fall asleep in his own bed but at daycare, he lays down with the others for nap and goes to sleep with them. Since going to daycare, he has gone to potty in the potty sporadically but with success. He loves to finger paint with his friends and to sit at the lunch table with the others and eat his packed lunch. John enjoys reading books and running. He has learned to run and is now running everywhere. He has been slow to learn to run with his head up but after a few run-ins with the cabinets, he is remembering to hold his head up. John feeds himself now and loves to feed Dad. There is nothing he doesn't eat. He has eaten boneless ribs, potato chips, pizza, BBQ pulled pork among other things that I wasn't sure he could chew.

As much as he eats, one would think that he would gain weight, but weight seems to go on slowly. His weight as of a week ago is 24 lbs. (he will be 3 in July). He is growing taller but hasn't changed much around the middle. He is still wearing clothes that he wore 6 months ago.

He now has a mouth full of teeth which have all come through. His last teeth came just about a month to two months ago and they didn't come through in the order or the shape they were expected. But we are encouraged that they all broke through in the correct place. Our dentist told us that if there is a baby tooth in that spot, there is usually a permanent tooth behind it. We will see what happens. With those new teeth in place, we are training him to keep them clean and for the most part, he does well with this task.

His vocabulary is increasing as he can now say "mom" to which my wife thought he would never say. So now he says it all the time. He goes to speech therapy 2 times a week for an hour. He was slow to warm up to the Therapist and work with her, but is now learning a lot of different sounds and words. He is even putting some words together. His vocabulary is probably around 40 to 50 words.

I write this not to brag on my son, however I am proud of his accomplishment, but to encourage new parents that these children have much more ability and potential than what your circumstances may appear. Don't give up, keep loving them for who they are and they will surprise you with how much in return they give to you. These children are an immeasurable blessing to all who take the time to get to know them.