Tag Archives: YMCA

Free Printable – Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

Noah has been enjoying his time at the Child Watch program at the Y.   A few weeks ago, the director asked if I could come up with a few signs to share so that Noah would be understood when he signs.  I’ve come up with nine basic American Sign Language signs that are commonly used at home and in the childcare setting; Mommy, Daddy, water, thirsty, all done, more, potty, ball and hurt.

Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

Download the free printable PDF here: Functional Sign Language for the Childcare Setting

For many children with Down syndrome, apraxia, and other speech delay, motivation can be a real problem.  There is nothing more frustrating to a child than attempting to communicate with someone who isn’t understanding them.  On the flip side, there is nothing more motivating to a child struggling with speech than to have the people around him understand and respond to his attempts to communicate.

Please share these signs with your child’s school, babysitter, daycare center, Sunday school class, grandparents, and anywhere else your child may be at risk for not being understood.

Thanks to http://www.babysignlanguage.com for allowing me to use their graphics.

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?

Just Keep Swimming, Swimming, Swimming . . .

Guess what Noah’s been up to the last couple weeks?

Noah Swim Lessons Face Front

Swim lessons!

Since we’ll be living in our new house EVENTUALLY, and said new house comes complete with a wet weather creek, it’s pretty important that our courageous hero learns how to swim.  I wasn’t sure what to expect seeing how he has always been afraid of the water and only comes in with me with a huge amount of coaxing.  His gymnastics instructor suggested I talk to the YMCA aquatics director and tell him about Noah and see what his suggestions were.  Between being afraid of the water and having Down syndrome, we all figured Noah might need a little extra finessing.  We agreed to let him try a group lesson with me on standby, and if he wasn’t catching on or was taking away from the other kids in the class, the Y would see about getting him some private lessons at a discount.  I LOVED that they were so willing to work with me and were already thinking of alternatives if Plan A didn’t work out.

I guess it helped that two out of three of the other kids in the class were Noah’s siblings, but Noah did GREAT!!!  He did so great he had his teacher wrapped around his little finger by the middle of Lesson 2.  Have you ever noticed how children with Down syndrome have a fabulous laugh?  It’s hearty and infectious.  It’s also extremely effective in manipulating everybody within hearing distance.  Noah had such a good time with his instructor; even when it was somebody else’s turn to swim, he leapt into her arms and laughed and laughed.  At first she tried to be the tough guy, but pretty soon she was laughing right along with him.  I had to tell him several times to obey, but I’m not sure he heard me over all the splashing and laughing.  One of the techniques the instructor used was having the children throw a plastic toy down the pool and then they had to practice kicking and reaching while she held them and brought them to the toy.  Then they turned around and did the same thing again towards the side of the pool where the other students were waiting for their turn.  Well, Noah thought it was hilarious to throw the toy in the wrong direction when he was supposed to be heading back to end his turn.  This meant he got a longer turn.  Hmmmm.  Don’t quote me on this, but I think he knew exactly what he was doing for the entire lesson.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this kind of behavior isn’t that unusual even among typical kids.  It’s the reaction that is different.  If a typical child behaved that way, the instructor would probably be gentle but firm in discouraging it, and that would be the end of that.  It’s kind of hard to be firm and discouraging when laughing.  Trust me, I know.  But I also know that gentle but firm works just as well with Noah as it does with my other kids.

I don’t think the swim instructor minded at all being a little extra flexible – as a matter of fact, most of the lessons she dismissed everybody else on time but kept Noah for one last jaunt around the pool.  And might I say I’ve never seen a happier student or instructor than during Noah’s swim lessons?

But I pity the poor swim instructor who gets Noah next time.