Noah’s Courage – A Speech Breakthrough!

Both Marcus (Noah’s speech therapist) and I have noticed Noah being a lot more verbal lately.  It’s exciting, and yet I hold my breath because I know that this could just be another phase that will fade away rather than prove to be a new pattern in his speech progress.  He’s been willing to mimic back attempts at almost any word I prompt him with (as long as he is in the “mood”).

The other night he did something, though, that I consider quite a breakthrough.  He was lying in bed as I was tucking him in, and he said an unintelligible word with a lot of energy.  When I didn’t understand and started rattling off a list of words that I thought he might be trying to say, he said no to all of them.  But whatever it was he wanted, he really, really wanted.  He even grabbed his mouth to try to force the shape of his lips to help him say the word.  I still couldn’t decipher it, and Noah gave a frustrated sigh that I could tell was an inward disappointment that he couldn’t say the word.  He tried SOOOOO hard!!!!  Finally, even though I’m always so relieved to get everyone one in bed, I let him out of bed to show me what it was he wanted.  He wanted the phone so he could say goodnight to his Daddy who is at our new house tonight trying to get it ready for move in.  I dialed for him and he had quite a conversation (mostly made up of “Daddy” and “yeah.”)

So, of course, it’s great that he initiated speaking with both his father and me, but what was really different was the pressure he was putting on himself to say the word “phone” and the energy he put into it.

Noah has proven he can do most anything he really, really wants to do.  And as hard as he works at speech, I’m never sure just how much he wants to talk because he finds so many other ways to communicate, and speech takes such a HUGE effort on his part.  So many times he tries to say a word and then gives up after one or two attempts, usually frustrated with me because I’m trying to make him do something he really doesn’t care to do once he realizes how difficult it is.  The other night he wanted to do it more than he wanted to give up.

HUGE!!!!!

I really want to help Noah’s attempts at speech be succesful.  i think if we can channel his attempts in such a way that they end up feeling successful to him, this kind of effort and persistence on his part will continue; but if they end in his perceived failure, he will stop trying.  Oy.  So difficult because my courageous hero gets very frustrated with me when I say “Good job” too enthusiastically.  I hate to say it, but I think he really doesn’t like feeling like his efforts are a result of being manipulated by his mother.

Typical male.

(No pun intended.)

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Things I Thought I Would Never Do – Yoga

Shhh.  I’m trying to keep it a secret, but I did actually go to a yoga class at our friendly neighborhood YMCA.

I know, I know.  What’s the big deal?  Who isn’t doing yoga these days?

Well, you have to remember, I’m a card-carrying, ultra-conservative, homeschooling, dress-wearing Christian mom to 7+2, and in our circles, well, you just DON’T DO YOGA!  The fact that yoga is so closely linked, whether people realize it or not, with Hinduism brands it with a big red X for most people like me.

I’ve never had the desire to do yoga (or any other exercise, for that matter), so it’s been easy to push it away and throw it into the bag of things I dare not do; but I’ve been doing a little examining of the contents of that bag lately and yoga is one thing I’m examining more closely.  See, with people with Down syndrome living longer and longer, I will have to live to be approximately 106 in order to outlive Noah.  With a resting heartrate of over 100, at this pace, I’m not going to make it.   I’ve gotta start somewhere and yoga seemed like a good place.  My first class was a huge success.  Julie, the yoga instructor at the Dripping Springs Y  who taught my class, met me at the door with a big serene smile and words of encouragement.  She talked us through every little step in the class, and I felt completely at ease.  Well, completely at ease until I mixed up my right and left foot.  I left the class feeling soooo relaxed, and on the way home I realized I had completely range of movement in my neck – something I haven’t had in about five years.  It was amazing!!!!

I also found a peculiar transformation in my thought process as well.  I felt so relaxed and at peace after the class and had the desire to remain in that state.  As we drove home and my mind started drifting to the stress inducing situations in my life, as soon as those thoughts entered my mind, they were met with a response along the lines of, “But I’m not going to let that rob me of the way I feel right now.”  It wasn’t even a conscious decision on my part.  And while I do find it imperitive to live in reality, not allowing stress to dominate my emotional state I think is not only a positive move but also a scriptural one.

6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:6-7.

22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galations 5:22-23

23 “‘Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake— 29 the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10: 23-31.

As a Christian, honestly I did feel a little uncomfortable with some of the verbiage and earth energy stuff, and I’m wondering if I can personally Christianize the yoga experience for myself.  Any suggestions?

Timmy Triangle – Shaping Up Kindergarten

Last week Bella (5), Seth (3) and Noah (6-Down syndrome) all started homeschool Kindergarten.  This is year two of kindergarten for Noah, and I’m happy to report academically he is much more ready for typical kindergarten work than he was at this time last year.

We’ve decided to try Weaver Interlock for our curriculum.  It’s designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners;  directions are given for modifying activities up or down depending on your child’s readiness.  How perfect is that for our family!  Even more perfect is the fact that I picked this rather pricey curriculum up for $2 at the thrift store several years ago.  Let’s hear it for homeschoolers who believe in passing along their used curriculum!!!  (And actually, I don’t believe this was even used – it looked brand new when I bought it.)

So last week was a busy week, but we had a blast.  Triangles were one of the things we learned about, and on day 1 of triangles, we made these cute little fellows:

DSC09224 I predicted this would be a busy work craft with little value, but I was wrong.  The kids were very focused on these triangles once they had their eyes stuck on and listened attentively as I pointed out the three sides, points and angles.

This was a quick craft.  One thing I learned at AWANAS last year was that there is no shame in pre-cutting and prepping projects for children.  If the point of a craft is more important than the skills practiced from start to finish, go ahead and do some of the work yourself before hand.  I had already cut the triangles before the craft, so all my little ones did was glue on the stick and the eyes.  Nobody lost interest, and I didn’t lose my mind.  That’s the mark of a successful activity around here.

I am liking the Interlock curriculum, but I am surprised by how thorough the lesson plans are.  As I glanced over it in preparation, I thought we’d whiz through the different activities in 15 minutes.  So I was having a great time on Pinterest looking for ways to supplement the material.  Turns out I’m going to have to find another excuse for stalking Pinterest.

Hmmmmm.  I’ve picked up machine embroidery again – now that would be a fun Pinterest board search!

Onward ho!