Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Potty Training

We are and have been working on potty training with John for a about 6 months now off and on. It is easy for us to loose interest when he looses interest and doesn't respond that way we think he should. It is difficult enough with a child without any delays but it is more difficult with a delayed child.

But we are learning that no matter how much we push, John has his own timetable and we are probably not there. Yes, he knows how to hold his bladder and he goes when we take him (most of the time), but he will not ask to go. And when we tell him to tell us when he needs to go and to not go in his diaper, it doesn't seem to phase him. It doesn't really bother him to wear a wet diaper. So we keep sitting him on his little potty chair and keeping it fresh in his mind so he can associate the two. And when he is ready, he will learn to initiate going to the potty. Until then, we have a 4 year old who in content in wearing diapers which is more difficult for us than for him.

I guess if we were to honest with ourselves, that is really the issue - having a 4 year old wearing dieapers. Looking back, it was easy to grow impatient as our other children met the different milestones. But I believe it is more difficult with John because John plays by his own rules. Children with Down syndrome are on a different schedule about reaching milestones and that schedule usually is slower than what we think it should be.

So that lesson that we have and are learning is that we need to be patient, but yet continue teaching and challenging him to learn new skills. Keep challenging their minds and abilities, but do not give up when they don't get it easily. Hang in there with them. What and how they learn from us as parents in their younger years are the building blocks of what lies ahead for them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Been Awhile

It's been awhile since my last post and many things have happened for us that is worthy of sharing. As we continue this journey into the world of Down syndrome, we remain hopeful and optimistic for John's developement. John has continued to surpise us with his abilities but on the other hand, some things are still difficult.

John is now 45 months old and while he is growing in his abilities, it is easy for us to sometimes focus on the abilites that he doesn't have. We try to maintain our focus on helping John be the best that he can be by challenging him to learn new skills and ignore the voices that tell us that he can't or won't be able to. At this point, we are very thankful for his abilities and continue to work with him on the ones that he can't.

Among his abilities for which we are thankful are communication. It took him a while but John has broken out of himself. He calls Mom, Dad, all of his siblings, and his friends at daycare by name. He tries to say everything he hears which is good and bad, but mostly good. He has become a very expressionistic little boy. And while some of the words are'nt easy to understand, he has learned how to get his message across. John is in Speech Therapy 2 days/week and while going to ST has helped, it is also helped that John goes to daycare 3 days/week with children that don't have Down syndrome and the fact that he has 4 siblings that read to him and practice flash cards with him.

One of the things that John loves is watching our collection of old Disney VHS movies left over from when our other children were small. He has learned how to work the VCR without help and unbeknownst to us, he knows the title of each video and calls them by one of the characters (i.e. he calls "The Fox and the Hound" copper).

There are many abilities that our other children were able to perform at 45 months that John still has not mastered. But we choose not to dwell on what John cannot do and focus on what he is able to do and to teach him those skills that he is lacking. This attitude is not easy and does not come natural for us but when we are able to maintain this focus, we are all much happier.

Another very important ingredient in John's growth though is our faith in Jesus Christ. We know that John belongs to Him and there is a plan for John's life. We pray for John and teach him that Jesus loves him very much.