Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Give Me a Sign

A request was made of my by Playette's primary caregiver in daycare a few weeks ago. She asked me to write down which signs The Littlest knows.

"Sure. Why not?" I thought. How hard could that be?

Never mind the fact that I had already provided such a list to the last room she was in (she recently moved from Pre-Toddlers to Toddlers) and I left a copy at the front desk for her file. I figured it would take me five minutes, max, to update the list.

You know one was nowhere to be found, right? So much for providing continuity. Obviously no one has been signing with her during the day.

Oh, and the third copy? The one I kept for myself at home? Who knows where that is.

But it's not like anyone is paying me to keep good records. So I totally get a pass.

Today I'm calling the list complete. Finally.

I know there may be more signs she knows, but, frankly, I'm sick of all the little sticky notes I've been keeping track on being everywhere. Tomorrow morning, I'm sharing the following:

All done
Thank you
Bye bye

I think we're up to 35.

And I'll be sure to give a copy to the front desk. Again.

Wait. Doesn't she also know "car"? And what about "french fry"? Along with "sink" "like" and "wash hands"?

Oh, I don't know.

Honestly, I know we've slacked off with the signing lately. Once Playette turned two about six weeks ago, right around when she started showing us that she had the both desire and the capacity to learn signs quickly, I started getting that nervous feeling. The one that walks right alongside the thought that I will never hear her speak.

Now, when we decided to start signing with Playette, I was very adamant that it would not have a detrimental affect on her verbalization. If anything, it would help keep her from being frustrated while waiting for her practically inevitable delay in communication to run its course. So less tantrums and all of that. It was going to be good for all of us.


But when you have a two-year-old that doesn't speak, it doesn't matter what you thought when they were seven months old. Because, really, most kids aren't talking at seven months.

But when your kid is two, all that matters is that your kid's peers are speaking and your kid isn't. Something must be wrong.

Damn the extra chromosome, something must be wrong.

It's very easy to jump to the other end of the spectrum regarding sign language.

It's a solid argument: Why give our kids with 47 an easier way out? Why choose the path of least resistance? Force them to speak. Keep the expectations high, just as you attempt to do in every other area. Treat them just as you would a child that has 46 chromosomes.


I still don't know, really. Please don't think that I think that I have the answers.

Case in point: Last Friday, at the conference, during the presentation of the person who literally wrote the book on communication as it relates to children with Ds, I was thoroughly and completely convinced that Playette was displaying classic symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

I wasn't going all hypochondriac either. Or so I thought. It was like the light came on and I was like, "Oh, so that's what it is."

But then I told BD and he looked at me like I was crazy.

And he explained to me, step by step, why I was wrong.

Then, apparently, (and obviously my child is out to make me look like a fool because none of this kind of thing ever happens when I am around) on Sunday, not 48 hours after I had stood in a room of approximately 100 people and announced that I had diagnosed Playette with CAS based on the six Power Point bullets currently displayed on the big screen (yes, I actually did this - surprised?), she put on a show of just how verbal she truly is in front of the very same woman (BD was taking his turn in the session while I was elsewhere...probably moping about this very issue). So much so that BD says that she was all, "This little girl is right on track," or something. Like I said, I wasn't there. But other parents were impressed and inspired, apparently. And we should be proud of whatever it is that we've been doing to help her get to this level. (Trust me, I don't feel like we do much of anything, let alone the elusive "enough.")


No one ever said this would be easy.

I don't mind being wrong this time though.


sheree said...

you're doing an AWESOME job! I cannot tell you how impressed I was when I saw Malea signing all of those words when you came to visit!

This IS a bumpy road but, like I said, I think you and BD are doing a terrific job and I bet playette will be jabbing your ear off before you know it! :)

ps: she also knows the sign for "Alex" and "Leah" ;)

Tricia said...

holy c---, Chrystal. Did I WRITE this post? no, really! Thank you for putting into words something I have been thinking a TON about. The signing thing, the easy way out thing. And I have not announced it to a room, but I totally Dxed G with apraxia, too. But I am now pretty sure I am wrong. (I think.)