Tuesday, October 8, 2013

{31 for 21} Day Eight.

Early learning..... did you know the methods are actually kind of a big debate in the Down syndrome community?

Making art at an art fair.

When I got Ellie's diagnosis, I went into full research mode about reading, speech, and education in general.  My plan is to teach Ellie to read with the same milestones as her peers, but with a bigger emphasis on sight reading, which research shows is beneficial for kids with Down syndrome.

I try to keep our environment print-rich and full of books, magazines, and educational materials.  We often discuss shapes and colors, as well as letters and numbers.  We use flashcards, which I use specifically because Ellie has Down syndrome and I know she benefits from visual learning.  I show her lots of words and hope they sink in.  Signing Time is exposing her to sight words as well.

I was surprised by the number of letters she identified recently!

Ellie "reads" her books by quoting memorized words and describing pictures.  "Penguin quiet sleep" is one example of an Ellie description in her current favorite, Penguins Penguins Everywhere.

Along with working on specific school and academic skills, I want Ellie to be a kid.

Sometimes, the balance of "Down syndrome mom" and "toddler mom" is a hard one to strike.  I want Ellie to reach her fullest academic potential, but not at the cost of missing typical life experiences.

So we go to the playground and run and slide and swing, but while we're there, we also work on following directions and core strength.

We try to expose Ellie to as many activities as possible - gymnastics, an art fair, the playground, museums (when the government is open), the zoo (when the government is open), small music festivals, and playing outside.

Sand art = big mess.

Where does Ellie currently stand?

Her gross motor was her biggest weakness for a long time.  She's got decent speech for a kid with DS, speaking in two-word phrases more and more each day.  And she loves school.

If you have a child with Down syndrome, will you share your approach to early learning?
If you have a toddler without Down syndrome, will you please share as well?

Ellie is growing and thriving, but I always want to learn more!

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1 comment:

  1. I've been following your blog for a while and have adapted many of the ideas you share. I think it's being called "intentional". I NEVER worried about my older daughters picking things up- everything just came so quickly and easily for them. Knowing Teagan MAY have delays (gross motor being her biggest one) I have started introducing colors, shapes, sight words, etc, earlier than I ever did with the older girls. I have tried to make it part of our everyday, much like you have, without sacrificing the "fun" of having an almost two year old.

    Also, as you probably know, surrounding her with interesting experiences (schema) will help her in ways you just can't teach her.


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