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Monday, April 30, 2012

We Have Communication!

Miles talks to Ella

The other day Miles asked us for grapes.  He cupped his right hand and made little "clumps" of grapes up his left arm.  That's the sign for grapes.  And he did it so clearly.  Another time he tapped my hand to get my attention and then took his index finger and ran it down his neck.  He was telling me he was thirsty.  And I then I said, "do you want "leche" (while pumping my fist) or "agua" (while taking the sign for letter W up to my chin)? Ladies and gentlemen, we have communication via sign language!!  Miles is now at the point where he wants to communicate so badly that he tries everything, from yelling to pointing, to signing to using the few words he can vocalize (the newest one is "down).  When I say, "Miles lets go take a bath",  he makes the sign for bath and either heads toward the bathroom or protests because he's not done playing.  He signs "brushing teeth" and "cookie" and "elephant" and so many more.  He's also trying to make sounds, like a "quack" for ducks and "vroom" for cars.  His sounds don't really match the actual sounds of what he's trying to imitate, but he is trying and that's what counts here.

Communication is so important to us and we know it will be key for Miles' development and acceptance into the general population. Currently, speech is the area where Miles is most delayed and we are hoping to make as much progress as possible in the next 6 months before his early intervention therapies run out.  Once they do, we will continue to provide him with private speech therapy because we don't want him to fall further behind.  Kids his age are already taking notice of his lack of words.  He is the most social kid in any group, but already I've noticed some of his peers are starting to wonder why he doesn't speak.  And why he yells so much.  He yells because he's excited and he doesn't have the words to convey his excitement.  So he yells.  It definitely puts some children off....as well as some adults.  But it's the reality.  And as he gets older, the differences between Miles and kids his age will become more and more obvious.

I remember reading in a book about children with Down syndrome that the developmental differences between typical children and children with Ds are not that different the first two years.  But that those differences become more pronounced once the kids turn two.  Yikes!  If that's true, I'm a little scared because the first two years seemed like they were chock full of differences.  But I guess what I'm starting to see is more differences in the way people or other kids treat or see Miles and that's what scares me most.  I've gotta brace myself though and remember that I do have friends that will help me through it, because I'm gonna have to be strong to help Miles through those difficult times.  Oh, the future!

But I've gotta enjoy the present and right now what's going on is tons of receptive and expressive communication with Miles.....and Ella!  That's right, Miss Ella and I had a 20 minute conversation the other night.  She was "cooing" and "ahh-ing", making the cutest sounds ever and I cooed and ahh-ed right back at her!  She would smile and even tried laughing a little bit, it was the sweetest thing ever and such a different experience than with Miles.  He never quite made those sounds, instead started months later with some babbling, using consonants like ma and ba.  There is something intense and beautiful about experiencing both.  There really is.

Miles, Ella & Daddy!

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