Charlie.

Charlie and I enjoyed some unexpected and oh so special one on one time together.  I had a few quick errands to run and brought my little buddy with me while the other two boys stayed home with dad.

I don’t know the best way to describe Charlie right now.  His personality is blooming and his skills are coming fast and furious.  That isn’t to say we don’t deal with any delays, but somehow even though he isn’t speaking per say, we can still carry on a conversation.  I always know what he is asking me and he often leads our family in prayer before dinner.  He is a social butterfly and manages to be the favorite buddy of both Henry and William.  He shadows me closely, as I go from kitchen to laundry room, from task to task.  He is quite simply a joy.

During our afternoon together, Charlie dutifully held my hand in the parking lot, followed me closely in the grocery store and of course, he helped to carry our bags to the car. Charlie is such a helper these days.  He is always the first to clear his dishes following a meal, gets a kick out of feeding the dog, and is getting pretty darn good at helping me sort laundry.  The other day while I was cleaning up after dinner I set out the overflowing recycling bin for Henry to take to the garage.  Before Henry was able to do his chore Charlie carried the bin {I have no idea how} to the garage door and rushed back to find me while exclaiming help! help!

Last week we had Charlie’s second school conference.  It was nothing short of amazing to hear his teacher speak of all of the progress he has made over the year.  I asked his teacher Mrs. R. point-blank if this year had gone as expected.  Her response?  Charlie has far exceeded my expectations this year.  He is working at the same level as all of his first-year peers and this year has not only been a good learning experience for him, but he has been good influence for the other students as well.  She went on to say that this Montessori classroom is exactly where he should be. 

I also asked a tough question that I’d been curious about…How did the other parents initially feel about Charlie coming into a mainstream classroom?  Were there grumblings?  Mrs. R. acknowledge that there had been a few concerns expressed, but she said it has been amazing to watch the parents accept Charlie, just as their children have.  She said that many parents come into the classroom to observe their own child but they actually spend more time observing Charlie.  They can’t get over the work he is doing, his focus and accomplishments.  Needless to say, any concerns have been wiped away.  Charlie you are amazing.

As you might imagine I floated out of that conference.  I am so thankful that we decided to give a mainstream classroom a try.  And most of all I am so thankful for the blessings and encouragement of Mrs. R.  She saw Charlie’s potential and he has thrived under her guidance and I know that he will continue to do so next year.  After teaching and loving two of our children we tend think the world of her.

We had visitors the other day…Charlie loved holding baby Jack and couldn’t give him enough kisses. 

On a random note, we decided to do the neck x-ray for Charlie last week.  {It’s commonly recommended for children with DS.}  The results showed that his neck was perfectly normal and we can cross that to-do off of our list.  I had mentioned before that we were going to skip that process, but there are enough activities {gymnastics, etc.} that we would like Charlie to participate in that require it – no exceptions.  Anyhow, what really prompted us to get the x-ray done is our goal to get Charlie going in a hippotherapy program.  We have an exceptional local program and I can’t wait to see our little guy riding high on a horse.  We’ve decided to pursue this type of therapy instead of traditional speech therapy over the summer.  I realize that the connection might seem blurry, but there is some legitimate science that shows a dramatic increase in speech due to hippotherapy.  It has to do with neurons, and working both sides of the brain.  Again, I’m not the one to explain it, but I’ve seen enough positive results and want to give Charlie that opportunity.

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5 thoughts on “Charlie.

  1. This post made me cry. I don’t know Charlie except from this blog, but I am sooo proud of him! About having a conversation without really even saying anything. It’s pretty amazing,isn’t it, what they can get across and what you can understand? My daughter with ds and I do the same thing. Also, as a speech therapist, I am going to offer my 2 cents. We have a very “language rich” home and as far as I can tell, you do too ( lots of reading, conversations, playing, etc.). If Charlie is anything like my daughter, language isn’t really the big issue, fine motor control and intelligible speech is. There is a lot to be said for speech therapy, it is a good thing. But, so is developing whole body motor skills. Keep up the language development at home and go for the hippotheray – it’s a good thing too. Mothers intuition is rarely wrong.

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