Thursday, September 30, 2010

31 FOR 21: Raising Awareness

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. As part of the efforts to raise awareness about the wonderful people with Ds who we have in our lives and the beautiful contribution they make to society, I am joining many other Bloggers in attempting to post everyday during the month of October. We shall see how I do!
I am inviting "Guest Post-ers" to send me an email with a contribution that you would like posted on my blog. This is open to our family and friends who would like to write something about how having someone with Ds in their life has enriched their life or some other thing they would like to share about Down syndrome. Just send me an email. (This also helps give me something to post everyday!)

If you would like more info on this challenge and links to other Bloggers taking the challenge just click More info!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A few things I know! By Olivia

Hi Everyone! I wanted to show you a few thing I know how to do.

One, I know how to be cute!
Two, I know What Motorcycles do... Vroom Vroom
Three, I know how to say Hello Everyone by waving and smiling big!
Four, I know where my tummy is, and I know to rub my tummy when I am hungry.
Five, I know where my feet are! (They are in my shoes!) If you ask me where my shoes are, I will just sign shoes, but not show you where my shoes are.
Six, I know where my hair is.
Seven, I know how to make lots of sounds of the alphabet. Here I am making the P sound. (or maybe the F sound, Mommy cannot remember which one I was making at the time.)
So that is a little of what I have been learning in my home school. I don't think that I am really being home schooled, but I think it sounds very grown up to call it homeschooling! I have lots of friends who are home schooled. If you are good and you are home schooled you get a guinea pig named Bill! That sounds cool! So far I only have two cats and a neighbor named Bill, but I love them all!

Proud to Announce...

... that Olivia is up on all fours in PERFECT form! This week, Olivia figured out how to take her "froggy rocky rocky" position and turn it into "rocky rocky way up high"! I had feared that it was going to take her a long time to get the strength and motivation to get her knees under her and her hips in, but she made the next step quickly. She LOVES rocking way up high! Big Smiles! And we LOVE seeing her do this! It is hard to believe that this little girl who we used to get excited so excited for when she, as a baby, moved her head from side to side, is now up on all fours rocking beautifully! It is moments like this that make us stand in AWE of the honor it is to be the parents of a child with that little extra chromosome. The work to attain each milestone is HARD work indeed, and takes a lot of patience, but when we get to these extra special milestones the rejoicing is fantastic! It is harder to raise a child with special needs, but I think it is better! Anyway... we love Olivia so dearly! And we are so very proud of her! Always! (Anyway... she has good genes! We can say that since we were fortunate to adopt her!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Up on all fours!

Celebration time! Olivia is up on all fours with her knees and hips in! No frog stance! She is able to hold it for longer and longer all the time! (I guess you can tell we are really proud of her progress)

Olivia's best motivator these days are the cats, Daddy and my iPad. I love this App! It has photos and it speaks the name of the animal and does the animal sound. It also has other categories: common items, letters etc. We don't use it much. But it does motivate her to move or kneel or climb up to the sofa.
I found this Fisher Price toy at Toys R Us. It comes with cars that have to be put in just so in order for them to go down. But I found that these balls work great! Olivia can do it! The colored balls are from Haba.
This was another improv toy. The pegs usually have round beads. I have adapted it with ring beads, and Olivia further adapted it with her plastic rings. Olivia is totally addicted to these plastic rings and has been for about a year.
I think this is a Plan toy. Again adapted. It usually has four different shapes. But that is too hard for her right now, but this is much more appropriate.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to enjoy a book!

I love this one of Olivia "reading". A "free spirited" way to enjoy a "good book"!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Swallow Study and Communication

I never did post about the results of Olivia's swallow study. All is well! Yay! The only problem is low motility through the esophagus, which is causing the spitting up. This is a result of low muscle tone, and should clear up as Olivia gets more upright, crawling, standing and walking. As Olivia is doing the rocking on all fours, I see the problem beginning to get better. We are also taking breaks while eating to do all of her "tricks". By doing Monkey, So Big, and Motorcycle she moves around more and straightens up more and uses her muscles more so it helps things go down the pipes. When she drinks too quickly and starts coughing, we tell her to do So Big, and that helps. We were also told to thicken her water. We do this with a few tablespoons full of pureed baby food. We typically use the kind that comes in the squirt pouches, so it is easy to simply get it out of the refrigerator, put a few squirts into her straw cup and add a few ounces of water. It is harder to suck the thick water, and thus she takes more breaks. I have noticed that her rhythm for all drinking has become more "rhythmic" with alternating sucking and swallowing and breathing much better.

The speech therapist who did the swallow study took some time to interact with Olivia. Olivia showed off all her communication abilities like a pro! The therapist was really impressed by Olivia's excellent oral motor skills and fabulous total communication abilities. Olivia can sign: more, all done, shoes, hello, good bye, motor cycle, bunny, fish, monkey, touch down, wash hands, bath and tell us that she is hungry by rubbing her tummy. She knows where her hair is, her tummy, and her feet and shoes. She can say the sounds for the letters: short a, b, d, f, g, h, l, m, short o, p, short u, v, w. She can put some sounds together to communicate approximations of words, such as: apple, baby, flower, fan grandma, happy, Lorelai, mommy, daddy, cup, up, hop, pop, vegetable, puff, bath. Of course the words are just close approximations at this point. Flower is Fow-wa. Fan is "FFFF". Grandma is Gam-ma. Lorelai is "LLLL". Apple is AP.
All in all, I think she is doing good for a 16 month old with Ds when it comes to communication. We have read to her a lot since she was born, and we talk to her a lot and we work on sounds a lot. I think that my Montessori training has me programmed to say single sounds over and over again to Olivia. Daddy gets a lot of credit for all the communication that Olivia is doing. Olivia loves to mimic Daddy! So if Daddy is teaching, Olivia is learning! Way to go Daddy!

Christmas WARNING from Olivia

Hi everyone!

Just a bit of a heads up as Christmas shopping time approaches. Maybe no one wants "presents" from my mommy this year. She is a bit dangerous in her idea of what "presents" are and I just want to warn everyone.

Mommy calls the solid waste I put into my diapers, "presents"!

Uh oh! The poor woman is horribly confused about what makes a good present.

As for me, I am counting on Santa Claus for the good stuff, and I am going to encourage Mommy to let Daddy do the shopping, just to be on the safe side.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rocky Rocky on all Fours

Olivia is getting herself up on all fours, however she looks a bit like a frog. That is ok, we like frogs! She is getting her hips in more and more everyday. We just have to keep working on the kneeling. When she gets herself up on all fours, she does not want to be adjusted! And that is a fact!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Miss Social

These days when we are out, Olivia is quick to greet everyone she sees (no matter how far away!) with a BIG smile and a BIG enthusiastic wave! If they respond she is happy to proceed with showing off all her tricks.

While at the hospital, she greeted LOTS of people, but was very disappointed when the life sized statue of St. Joseph did not wave back.

Rocky Rocky

I wanted to show you Olivia's progress in being on all fours and rocking. She is starting to enjoy it! And I have seen her try to get up on all fours by herself when I tell her to "Do Rocky Rocky". I know she can get up on all fours. At least I have seen her on all fours in her crib on one occasion. She may have gotten there accidentally and is now having trouble remembering how to do it. Soon (or later) she will have this milestone down pat! Thanks to Lorelai and Rory for their expert motivation! Cat power!


Needing new shoes was the perfect excuse for us to hit the road, bag the chores and do some serious outlet shopping! I really have had a strong disdain for shopping since childhood. Being cooped up in a mall all day is really not for me. But outlet strip mall shopping where you get to hang out outdoors in between stores is much more enjoyable. Olivia thought it was fun too! Looking at clothes was pretty boring, but grabbing them off the rack was hilarious! She has become super social, and greets every human being and statue with a big smile and an enthusiastic wave!

We got there before the stores opened and had a chance for a pre-shopping carbo-load!

Daddy thought "Olivia unleashed" was the perfect photo for this girl's first Big outlet shopping trip!

Buying shoes. She took to wearing them right away!

Olivia fell asleep in Daddy's arms. Time to go home! Osh kosh, Carters, Hanna Anderson, and Gymboree and other stores can stay in business following our contributions to their profit column! (I really like the sleepers I found at Hanna Anderson, and they were $10 cheaper than online!