When Colin was born, Chris and I were given developmental charts listing milestones that typical kids would reach and what the timelines were compared to children with Down Syndrome. Because of that, we felt like we were always waiting for Colin to accomplish certain skills like stacking blocks, saying words, stringing beads, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, etc. For him, some things happened more easily and/or quickly while other things took a really long time for him to accomplish. We were always practicing and working with him because we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could for Colin with endless amounts of tummy time, exercises, etc.
Chris and I had to learn a very important lesson early on in those days that we were just going to have slow down to Colin's pace and be patient with him through every step of each milestone we were trying to help him accomplish. There were many tears shed as we felt every struggle of Colin's but even more through all of his successes. We learned to celebrate everything no matter how big or small because of how much work went into each thing he did.
When Colin started school, the same lessons applied but to different kinds of milestones and learning goals. Through the last few years, there have been things he has picked up more quickly but just like when he was younger, there are many things that take him longer to learn and understand. While we still have to remind ourselves that he will get there, it is often challenging in the moment through the struggles of doing homework and practicing skills that come so much more easily to other kids. In addition, we feel like we have some added stress of always having something to prove in order to keep his placement in a general education setting that we so strongly believe in. With each "off" day behavior wise, each report card and IEP goals progress report, we fall off track a little bit from what we have already spent over 6 years learning. There have been so many improvements this year solely from the open mindedness of the people working with him but in all honesty, the road ahead feels daunting at times and that does NOT have anything to do with Colin himself.
The other night I was working with Colin doing his homework and I let my own frustrations and fears get the best of me through his struggles in practicing a particular skill. At the end of the day, he's tired and shutting down yet I still try to push through and practice sight words, phonics, math concepts, counting, etc. because I worry. I realized I needed to take a step back for a minute and praise him for the progress he has made. His progress is not as fast, not as big or noticeable at times but it's Colin's progress and I can't let myself, or anyone, lose sight of that. I am so proud of Colin for how far he has come. He has been so motivated by these leveled reading books lately and asks to go through them independently. So tonight, I'm sharing my little guy's newest accomplishment....reading.
(did you pick up on what he said in that video?? I have NO IDEA where he got that from!)