Friday, April 15, 2011

Little Teacher

Many mistakenly believe that people with developmental disabilities have limited emotions or opinions, or they buy into the idea that people with Down syndrome are angels who are always happy. I invite you all to spend a day with Sophie.

Our new house was vacant for a while (the closing was yesterday) so we spent the day cleaning it from top to bottom. After just 10 months in our current house, we will be relocating just a mile or so down the way over the next couple of weeks.

Sophie displayed curiosity about her new house, excitedly exploring every nook and cranny.

She showed deviousness & cunning by quietly sneaking outside (more times than my heart can take) to visit the neighbors as soon as she saw I was distracted.

She showed displeasure with being confined to certain areas of the house as we cleaned from room to room.

She used problem solving skills to break down baby gates that she couldn't open, taught herself to unlock the deadbolt, & showed an understanding of cause and effect when she mastered opening our brand new baby gate in 2 minutes.

She showed defiance when she refused to nap.

She showed pleasure when I played her favorite movie.

She knew she wanted more goldfish crackers, so she grabbed them and poured them on her plate faster than I could stop her with a look that said, "Mom, don't come between me and my fish." (while making the ASL sign for fish).

She showed delight in the fact that we can run in a big circle between the living room and dining room, which makes the game of tag so much fun. Her unabashed belly giggles and squeals of joy echoed off the walls in our empty home.

She imitated her mommy by trying to help sweep the floor, just like her big brother and little sister.

She asked for help by gently patting my arm and saying, "Ma!" and was persistent until she had my full attention.

She showed her stubborn streak when she refused to eat the lunch I had provided.

She is cranky now because she was too riled up to nap in her new surroundings.

She showed compassion to her baby sister when Helena was upset by sharing her toys and finding her pacifier, which she knows helps calm her sister down.

Sophie may have a very limited vocabulary but she manages to get her wants and needs known with the kind of spunk you would expect from any other 3.5 year old.

There is a reason for that. If you limit yourself to seeing only the areas that others define as delayed or different, then you are missing the lesson that Sophie is so much more like everyone else than she is different as are all people with disabilities.

Daily she teaches me to challenge my perceptions and redefines my definition of normal. And just like her siblings, she's determined to give her old lady gray hair.
(embedded video below)


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Barb said...

Beautifully captured and shared!


Anonymous said...

Good thing she was imitating you and not me or your new house STILL wouldn't be!

Kids, all kids have challenges but you and yours keep facing them head on with grace, dignity and a bottle of wine!

Miss you and love you and can't wait to see you,
the prairie

Anonymous said...

God NEVER makes mistakes! Children are blessings from HIM!!