Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ds Tutorial 101- Fine Motor

Just some simple information about Down syndrome. This is just an overview of this particular issue. If you would like more information, please comment or email me and I would be happy to post more in the future on the topic.

Some of the possible causes of delay in the development of

Fine Motor Skills in Down Syndrome include:

  • hypotonia (low muscle tone) Just try to get your fingers to work while your large muscle groups are extremely weak, let alone your fingers also being weak
  • loose joints and ligaments
  • hand shape (hands are smaller and fingers are shorter than typical)
  • decreased cognitive skills (making it more difficult for the child to reason things out and to learn to coordinate his movements)

Monday, June 21, 2010

A General O Update

So far, the new meal plan is going smoothly. Olivia is handling the rice milk and added fats fine. She is enjoying chomping away on veggies, especially green beans and cooked daikon radishes. As Mom enjoys daikon radishes with her breakfast, Olivia has decided she does also. Dad eats fruit, but Olivia cannot be convinced that solid fruit is chomping worthy. Bananas are going better though. Peter, the engineer, has made an excel spreadsheet which beautifully tracks Olivia's nutrition information for each meal. Although all the record keeping is a bit of a task, it is worth it as we work with the doctor and dietician to create an optimal diet to assist Olivia's development. Next addition is the multivitamin. We decided to go with a general multivitamin as opposed to a specialized one such as nutrivene, as this was the professional advice.

The power went out one evening into the night and this caused sleep issues for Olivia. It was much too dark, quiet and warm to sleep! Perfect sleep environment for me, but Olivia had other thoughts! As I sat and rocked her, she continuously signed fan. She knows that when we are warm, we turn on the ceiling fan. Poor kid just could not understand why I was ignoring her request. Communication is going beautifully. Olivia can sign a numb of words, including fan, mommy, happy, sad and all done. Her affirmative sign is to clap.

Fathers Day...

We spent Fathers Day with many of the men in Olivia's life: Grandpa, Uncles, and of course Daddy. The men love the lake, so that was where we were. And a wise choice at that!

Olivia got her first boat ride! And promptly fell asleep!

Olivia went for her first swim and loved it. I loved playing in the water with her. She floats well so was as light as a feather in the water.

And Olivia got a chance to play with her cousins. As you can tell we were having a great time!

A dear sweet neighbor made this doll for Olivia. It is predict and gorgeous! She even embroidered Olivia's name on the apron (by hand!). A special gift from a very special friend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"I am a good Montessori child! I wash my own table."

"And then I chew on the sponge! OK, so I have room for improvement."

"But I think sponges are fun! Almost as fun as slippery cold ice cubes!"

We had Olivia's dietitian appointment today. All in all, she was very impressed by Olivia's well rounded diet. We were given number guidelines for calories, fat and protein. We also went round and round about the best "milk" to put Olivia on. After reviewing her biological family histories, and looking at Olivia's history, she settled on Rice Milk. This avoids both dairy and soy, but does create a challenge for us to meet her fat requirements as a young child. Thus we will be using some higher fat foods (oils, nut butters, avocado etc.) to meet the fat requirement. Her protein consumption is really good. She eats really well and likes her legumes.

The other therapists (physical,speech,and occupational) were impressed by how well she is doing. They say keep up the good work with her! Where would we be without the Topics in Down syndrome books!

We are now to start cranking up the solids, as Olivia has some good choppers that have popped recently. But we have to be sure she is chewing well enough to digest what she eats. Back to lots more oral motor exercises before she eats to get her thinking " chew"! She likes the nuk brush dipped in ice water as one tool. No more using our fingers unless we want her to bite them off!

On the way out of the hospital, Olivia caught the eye of an older man who was greeter at the door. We stopped to say hello. He went to bless her, then stopped. I said to please bless her! He got out his holy water from Lourdes and blessed us all! Turns out, he coached at Notre Dame foe many years, is the father of a guy we went to high school with, attends Mass every morning with Father Hesburgh and he gave us each a metal from Father Warner which was blessed by Father Hesburgh. Also, turns out that he knows Peter's dad ( as Peter's dad taught at ND many years ago). So another interesting outing!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Olivia's New Friends

Miss Socialite!

This week is full of appointments! Too full! Some appointments are fun: looking at Olivia's one year proofs, and getting our haircuts, but others are medical. Today was her one year hearing test, which she passed! Praise God! The ENT also looked at her ears and he feels that if we continue to keep her healthy that she should avoid hearing impairment! We pray for health! Tomorrow we meet with the dietician to plan a healthy diet which will keep her weight in check. People with Down syndrome and low muscle tone tend to have a slow metabolism (probably 20% slow than for typical individuals).

So, Olivia's new friends! Wherever Olivia goes, she looks around for someone interested in socializing with her, and demands that we go get acquainted. Everyone thus far has been very taken with Olivia, especially when she smiles, claps and flashes her big brown eyes! Today she made friends with an older woman, and a teenage boy. This teenage boy is severely differently-abled and drives a high tech chair complete with ventilator and every monitor known to man. When this boy saw Olivia he wheeled himself over to Olivia, despite his father's admonitions not to. Well, Olivia was all smiles when Joseph came to visit her. Joseph also cannot speak nor can he smile, but his eyes speak volumes! He and Olivia, exchanged eye gazes, and air kisses back and forth! They really connected! Olivia gave him her biggest smiles and clapped and signed happy! Olivia has added Joseph to her list of boyfriends!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Anniversary Day - by Olivia

For my beloved parents' 23rd wedding anniversary, I took them to Saugatuck Michigan for the day. It is just over an hour from my home, so I could nap in the car. However, I have to tell you that I am not up for full day outings yet, and I think that I will plan half day outings from now on. I was exhausted yesterday, and when I am overtired, I am just not myself.

Here are some photos of our day:

We bought this cool beach tent to keep the sun off of us. It was cooler in the tent and pretty awesome! Between my sunscreen (by CA Baby!) and the tent, I had an SPF of 80, so no burns for this baby!

Daddy and I had fun playing.

I ate my lunch in my portable chair from CA Aunt Jo B. I wore Daddy's hat from the Law Firm, too! Don't I look like a lawyer!?!?

Kissing me! A favorite activity around our home!

Daddy and I played in the sand. He is really good at it! I love the sand, except it is not safe to stand in it! Daddy tried to have me stand in it and I said no way!

Mommy played with me, too, but Mommy is not as good with sand as Daddy.

Later, downtown by the boat dock, I had a picnic snack, while we rested from shopping, gallery hopping and dancing to Reggae music.

We looked at a few boats. Cool! Now I know what I want for Christmas

It was a good day! Happy love day Daddy and Mommy!