Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thanks, Team.

Ellie has a team that supports her and works with her.  The team is big enough to suggest that she is some kind of actress, important world leader, or star athlete.

Nope, just an almost-one-year-old baby.

I'm fairly certain that Ellie's early intervention team is the greatest ever.  Of course, I say this as a first time mom who has only ever worked with this one early intervention team, but they're awesome.  And they deserve a very big public thank you.

Ellie works hard in therapy most of the time, and it's paying off.  She is meeting most of her goals, and finding all sorts of creative ways to cause trouble.  But most importantly, her team believes in her.  Ellie's team has never made a negative comment to me.  They've never told me that she can't do something.  They look to what is ahead, and help me plan activities that will help Ellie's development.  They laugh with me.  They adore my child.

Gross motor is currently a relative strength of Ellie's.  She's been receiving weekly physical therapy since before she was two months old.  We're also very lucky - a combination of a great PT who has worked with many kids with Down syndrome, and a child who brings the gifts of lowest tone in the upper body (not hips) and a love of motion certainly help. 

Ellie is more of a squawker than a babbler, but she works hard in speech to build oral muscle strength and imitation skills.  Her therapist is full of great ideas.  Ellie's therapist also helps me think big picture, asking "What skills are functional skills for her age?"

And developmental therapy helps Ellie learn how to play and how to problem solve.  (And she's mastered taking things "out," as she just got done removing the contents of the diaper bag.  Awesome.)  Her therapist also has tons of ideas on how to use what we have at home to help Ellie grow and learn.  (And now, she's moved onto playing the drums on the wall with an empty bottle.  Seriously, Ellie?)  Ellie's therapist also helps me with task analysis, and since I get really excited about task analysis, I love our conversations.

Ellie's therapists also believe me when Ellie doesn't "perform."  Yesterday, I told her developmental therapist, "Ellie is selecting the correct image about 75 percent of the time."  I busted out the DK "First Words" cards, and let me tell you, Ellie got every one wrong.  And we laughed and rolled our eyes, because Ellie was clearly NOT listening to my requests, and simply taking the more appealing card.

Side note: I don't "quiz" my child.  I read once that kids with Down syndrome respond better to "teach teach teach" than "teach test teach."  What I do to see if Ellie is retaining is ask the standard questions like, "Ellie, can I see your ball?"  When, in the presence of her therapist, she naturally gravitates toward the cat, or keys, or bear, or any other object, I simply say, "Oh, you want you keys/cat/bear!  Good job finding your keys/cat/bear!"  It's all praise, no fail.  Along with See and Learn, we also use DK flashcards and everyday objects to work on naming.  Ellie's awesome therapists have encouraged the "no fail" approach and are helping me come up with creative ways to see what Ellie is learning.

Since we're deep in party planning and today is a gross rainy day, I don't have any new Ellie photos to share.  I do, however, have a little party sneak peak. 

Oh, and the one year old picture is still under wraps, you have to wait until Sunday!

Have a wonderful day!
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  1. Yep, "teach don't test" is a huge concept for our kids. Actually, for *any* kids, really. It's all about positive reinforcement!!

    I'm so glad your EI team is so awesome! Ours was, too. I think being in Arlington had a lot to do with it. Services there are GREAT. :-)

  2. That is so great that Ellie has an amazing team behind her, and it makes awesome team, for an awesome little lady. Love the month pictures, she is such a cutie. Can't wait to see the 12 month pic, I'm sure it's adorable!!!

  3. It does help when you have a good team that is positive! Love the pics! I hope she has a fabulous party!


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