5 days ago
Friday, January 9, 2009
Today we meet with Rhett's new speech therapist with the school district. I'm not a big fan of her to be honest. I have only met her once and that was when she came over for Rhett's IEP. At first she made a good impression.
-Oh Rhett's so cute...
--Oh he talks so well...
--Oh wow he can speak sentences!!
Then he went and got his binky and told me he wanted to go night night. She wasn't too keen on the idea that he had a binky at three years old. She told me I was going to cause his tongue to protrude.
--Uh hello? If he doesn't have a thick tongue and it's not protruding at three years old, it's not going to happen. Regardless of whether he has a binky or not.
You all know my stance on this. I will not take Rhett's binky away as it is his security for when he is sick and in the hospital. He only uses it at night and during nap time, unless as I stated above he is sick.
This little guy has been through 6 major surgeries in his three short years of being here. Not to mention the countless hospital stays. I think the he deserves some type of security.
So then I was on the defensive when she dropped another bomb shell that I can't even believe she said.
I was sitting on the floor with Rhett and he was asking me for something. Again it was nap time so his speech wasn't as clear as it typically is. When I couldn't understand him he started signing that he wanted to watch the trees out the window. The blinds were closed and he wanted them open.
Now me? I was uber impressed that he had communicated this to me.
Her? Well, not so much. She asked if I am still working on signing with him.
When I told her that I was, and that it takes up a good portion of our day, she told me that I need to cut back and then stop completely.
--At this point steam is coming out of my ears and I am whistling....
I calmly told her that if I hadn't been teaching Rhett sign since he was 2 months old, he would NOT be where he is today.
See I believe with my whole heart that Rhett talks as well as he does because of Signing Time. I don't think he would be talking sentences, and clearly at that, with out Signing Time. He learned his signs before he learned to say anything by mouth.
Another thing, is that he doesn't get frustrated when he can't say a word because he knows that he can always sign it if I don't understand what he is saying.
We don't have communication barrier tantrums in our house.
Rachel from Signing Time has always said that "Communication does not delay communication."
Seriously. These could very well be the wisest words ever spoken.
When Rhett was first born and we got his diagnosis of Down syndrome, the first thing I did was tell Andy that I didn't care if Rhett ever walked, or had good fine motor skills. I just wanted him to be able to communicate.
I have always focused on the communication aspect of his development before anything else. It didn't matter if he talked or signed. It was just that I wanted him to be able to tell me what he needed, to be able to tell me that he loved me, or that he was frustrated with something.
I didn't care if it was with his hands or with words. When he did it with his hands for the first time, my heart just soared. I could have stayed the happiest mom on the earth if he continued to use his hands.
Then one day out of the blue he looked at me, signed I Love You, and then said "Ahub Ooooo."
As time progressed he started saying "Aye Ahub Ooooo" and now he says, " Aye wuv you, mom."
He still uses his hands as he says it, and I always think of his words as more of icing on the cake than anything.
He uses his signs and words to create 5 and 6 word sentences. He will mix them together and go on and on and tell you a story. How can anyone not be amazed at this? How could anyone tell me that we need to stop?
See ASL is a language. If I were sitting her teaching Rhett Spanish, French or whatever, and he was doing an amazing job at learning it, people would be like "Oh wow!! A three year old with Down syndrome speaking two languages!! That's amazing~~"
This is where I don't get the whole speech therapists idea. With ASL being a language, why can't people see that Rhett IS a three year old with Down syndrome who CAN speak two languages.
See, me? I think this is nothing short of amazing.
If you have a baby, regardless of whether or not they have special needs, but especially if they have special needs, the best thing you can do for them is teach them sign language.
I cannot think of anything more important than communication, and it doesn't matter what type of form it's in.
Throughout your child's life you will buy them many toys and movies. I'm sure many, if not all will buy a bajillion Happy Meals from McDonald's within the first 3 years. Imagine if you took this money and invested it into your child's communication by purchasing some Signing Time products.
By doing this you are providing your child with a life long skill. That Happy Meal toy? Its going to be thrown away in a month anyways, and the toys from Walmart? They will be outgrown soon and discarded.
My kids have never outgrown Signing Time. We all love popping in a DVD and learning new signs. We love singing the songs when we are in the car, and my older kids love signing to Rhett. There is nothing better than the giggling that comes from them as Rhett signs something back to them.
I dunno know about you, but I think that Rhett is one awesome kid, and a smart cookie at that. It's all thanks to Rachel and her devotion to our children, and the fact that and I have, and will continue to keep pushing to keep Rhett signing.
So there, I said what was on my mind. Now you can all go back to your regularly scheduled day, and I'll get off my soapbox now.
at 7:47 AM