A Moment in His World

I’ve been concerned lately at Noah’s growing frustration and lack of cooperation.  Most attempts by me to work with him on refining his speech is met by resistance.  He is starting to be noncompliant in our school time, and I’m just sensing barriers going up any time I push him towards doing anything remotely academic or speech related.

The thing that bothers me the most is his aversion to making eye contact with me when he knows I’m trying to work with him.  Am I pushing too hard?


But I can’t just let him stay where he’s at.  I mean, it’s my job to push him to do great things, right?

No answers here, but I did enjoy a few minutes with him yesterday evening.

I met him where he was at.  And he let me stay awhile.

Noah was sitting on the couch looking at a book.  (YAY!)

I walked in the room and without saying a word, I was able to attract his attention.  I signed to him without saying a word that I wanted him to come with me so I could brush his teeth.

He signed back – “YOU come HERE!”

So we went back and forth a few times playfully signing “You come here,” and “No, you come here.”

But I really did need to brush his teeth, so I cozied up to him on the couch.  By this time he was laughing.

I signed “You ride.”

That got his attention.  So I gave him a piggy back ride to the bathroom.

Mind you, it is VERY unusual for us to use sign language without at least me saying the word out loud too.  But this communication exchange we had was totally silent, and boy did I have his attention!

So we got to the bathroom and continued our silent game, and I lived for a few minutes in a Noah-controlled world where no speech was necessary.

Magic.  Absolute magic.

After a bit Noah caught on I was up to something, so he reverted back into his uncooperative self, but I had him for a few precious minutes, and oh, the fun we had!  What a blessing to hear Noah laugh and laugh and laugh.

There is something special that happens when you and your child look into each others eyes and use language other than speech to communicate.  It doesn’t have to be formal sign language.  There’s a lot you can communicate just by gestures.

Try it.  Even if your child doesn’t have a speech delay, try making a game out of communicating without the spoken word.  I often see the spoken word as a key to the world around Noah, but that spoken word can also be a barrier.

Hearts know no words, but they know each other.



9 thoughts on “A Moment in His World”

  1. I can totally relate to this. My son is able to speak, but delayed for his age. I want to push him in school, but not so much that it frustrates him. But it’s hard to tell sometimes if the resistance I get from him is because of his defiance or because I’m pushing beyond his abilities. I just keep praying for God to give me wisdom.

  2. You might take this orneriness and defiance as a positive sign (says the mother who hasn’t had to deal with little kids for almost 15 years hehehehe). Even though he is delayed in many areas, he is growing up to be his own person. And rebellion, defiance and ignoring mom is smack dab in the middle of the Bell Curve of normal childhood behavior. And trust me, there were numerous days I wanted to pick up a bell and smack my fortunately gifted son right across the head 😉

    Gifted, normal, delayed – kids will willingly do things for teachers and other adults, that when mom asks it to be done – well, welcome to the big blow off!!! But, it sounds like you have found the wisdom of humor! Hang in there – you are doing an amazing job!


  3. Very interesting! At what age did you start signing with him? Have you found it to be a successful tool? Thanks for sharing the links, I will be going through them. We recently started signing here, *fingers crossed!*

    1. I started signing with him at six months. I did a lot of hand-over-hand assistance for a while before he started doing it on his own. He knows a ton of signs now – probably 300 at least, and he uses them a LOT! Sometimes I worried becasue I thought if he could get what he wanted with sign language, he might not feel like learning to talk, but seeing him now and realizing how excruciatingly difficult it is for him to talk, I am soooooo glad he can communicate with his signs. Usually when he starts being able to say a new word, he signs it too, so the sign is part of the learning process. I really think there is a lot of motor input with the signing that helps with talking, and you will be setting really good patterns for speech, i.e. teaching baby that every word has a sign and a spoken word, if she wants something, she has to use the word, signed or spoken. I have also found that almost ALL people with DS have difficulty being understood no matter how high-functioning they are. Sign language if used while speaking really helps them to be understood. As you teach sign language to your baby, just make sure that for every sign, you also say the word – save the Moments in Her World for when she is a little older and needs a break. Sign language is actually a lot of fun, and you and your precious one will be able to “speak” to deaf people you never even noticed before. You can learn a lot for free – try Signing Times videos and the free websites out there – http://www.lifeprint.com, http://www.aslpro.com, http://www.babysignlanguage.com. Start with words like more, milk, eat, all done, and start NOW!!!!! Wish I would have sent you some of my baby sign language stuff with your book. Let me know how it goes. (You should be getting your book in another week or so.)

      1. Thanks for the input and tips. Signing seems like such a valuable tool, I’m glad we’ve decided to go through with it. I started about 3 weeks ago, although I kept forgetting to use them (lol). It seems to get easier as we go along! And the book arrived yesterday!! Thank you so much again. I was quite excited 🙂 looking forward to reading it.

  4. I heard it and heard it and heard it over and over again… And somewhere along the line it seems to have finally sunk into my head… children with Down syndrome will learn everything but they do it AT THEIR OWN PACE and in the order of their choosing (vs. the “typical” order of skills-acquisition)… but know that THEY WILL LEARN! My Boys are now 8 and I’ve come to understand that this is absolutely TRUE! They will also do for their peers or favorite teachers what they would never do for Mommy… though I might’ve been asking them to do it for years. The piggy back and making learning a game are useful and significant tactics that we use all the time in our home. And, kudos to you for establishing a strong “school-time” schedule. Based on my experience, there is power in establishing a regular routine for educational work at home as that will help Noah in the future. The therapists established it and The Boys have always complied… but I personally failed to establish a strong education-time routine at home and we still don’t have good cooperation for homework. Sounds like he’s a typical little boy… some days compliant and some days not so much. You’re doing a great job!

    1. Thanks, Maggie. I’ve really been struggling lately with how much to push Noah to talk. He really hates it when I try to practice with or elicit speech from him. Maybe it’s just too hard for him right now, but will not always be that way? Being reminded that these guys do things, but they do it in their own time was very helpful to me this morning.


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