• New to the echo... 1B.

    From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Mark Hofmann on Wed Oct 12 23:26:30 2011
    Hi again, Mark! This is a continuation of my previous reply to you:

    Our son used to "skoot" on his butt very fast on
    the floor.

    ... using his arms to push himself around?

    He never crawled. He went from skooting to walking
    and then to running. :)

    Nora went from creeping... i.e. pushing herself around with extended arms while lying on her tummy... to standing & walking with the aid of a solid object such as the coffee table. Kids with DS who can bend their knees & keep them together may have accomplished a phenomenal task in developing the muscle strength necessary to counteract the opposing muscles. Once they've done that ... why waste time crawling when you can walk?? And they're off... [chuckle].

    There is one very unique thing with our son.
    I have heard most children with DS have a large
    straight line on the palm of their hands.

    The so-called "simian crease"? IMHO this is a term originating from an era in which people with DS were generally regarded as less than human. My understanding is that a syndrome is a cluster of features, any or all of which may be found in the population at large. Some people with DS have the "simian crease"... Nora doesn't. I'm not prepared to say how many others exhibit this feature because I have little opportunity to study their palms in detail. :-)

    Our son has a straight line on one of his hands,
    but not the other. I'm not sure why or what that
    could mean, if anything.

    It might mean something to a palmist... and from that standpoint I'd be interested in knowing which is which. Otherwise I wouldn't attach a lot of importance to it because other people's bodies aren't symmetrical either. :-)

    He understand most everything. His big problem is
    trying to express himself in words. He is getting
    it though, just taking a bit.

    If he has difficulty getting his tongue around the words because his tongue doesn't quite fit his mouth, that's not unusual for kids with DS. As I remarked about one of Nora's ward mates who couldn't speak because she'd had a stroke... she understands what we're saying, but she can't talk. I knew I was on the right track when she grinned from ear to ear & nodded enthusiastically.

    Even among "typical" children & adults, generating speech requires a more complex skill set than understanding speech. Kids who are ready to learn how to express themselves in words may be able to use gestures & sign language to cover the transitional period during which they still have difficulty using oral speech. Nora went to a preschool group in which both were used together. The group included kids who had developmental delays for any number of reasons ... not just kids with DS... and contrary to some people's fears, we found she didn't become overly dependent on sign language. While it's a useful skill to have in one's repertoire, the majority of others don't understand it. The net result, in Nora's case, was that it faded as her oral speech improved.... :-)

    We have a total of 6 kids. Only one between the two
    of us (being our son). Everyone is unique and special
    in their own way..

    Exactly. Years ago... when the state of the art was that there were three million possible combinations of genes... a distraught mother approached me to ask why her son was so different from her daughters. I told her I found it rather amazing that her daughters were so alike. Nowadays three million is considered a gross underestimate, but I think the same principle applies. ;-)

    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Mark Hofmann on Mon Nov 14 21:46:14 2011
    Hi, Mark! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

    Actually, he would use sit in an open indian style and
    use his legs to skoot. It was a combination of a hop and
    skoot using legs (sideways on the ground) and hopping on
    his butt.

    Nora still enjoys sitting cross-legged... in her own inimitable way,
    of course! Years ago it drove her physios crazy because they were afraid she'd
    dislocate her hip. She hasn't yet. I'm also told it is a very stable position
    which helps enable kids to avoid toppling over & maintain good posture.... :-)

    I had read that the crease tends to be a straight line on
    kids with DS, but that isn't always the case. There are
    cases of people without DS that have the same straight line
    crease, but they are rare.

    Yes, there's an example of a characteristic associated with DS which
    also occurs... perhaps less often... among the general population. Another has
    to do with the "epicanthic fold" at the corner of the eye adjacent to the nose.
    For Orientals this is normal... for Caucasians it's normal in babies & in about
    10% of other folks who do not have DS. Before chromosome tests were available,
    Dr. Langdon Down identified numerous characteristics which are still used today
    in making a tentative diagnosis. I've seen enough real-life examples to hazard
    a guess in many cases. It's important to realize, however, that what's unusual
    is a collection of features which might otherwise be relatively rare & that not
    everybody with DS has exactly the same features. The dummified explanations of
    DS don't acknowledge that there's more than one variety either. By comparison,
    if I see an article about leukemia in which the author says there are two kinds
    I may not learn much from him or her because I can think of five at least. ;-)

    Getting the proper movement in the tounge seems to be the
    trick with our son. When I work on words with him, I say
    them slow and in sections. Making a sound and then turning
    it into a word. Like "TTTTTTTTTTTTTRRRRRRRRR uck".

    As a former Learning Assistance teacher, I approve! Exaggeration is
    a great teaching tool, IMHO, along with doing these things in slow motion. :-)

    Once he masters a word, he likes saying it over and over.

    IOW, he seems to have a good handle on his own learning style. Nora
    was... and still is... like that too. When she first discovered the concept of
    parallel lines she drew grass in every one of the eight colours in her felt pen
    box a day at a time, and then she went on to experimenting with something else.
    Right now she's studying Alexander the Great with help from Yours Truly because
    she understands far more than she can read by herself & she's quite peeved that
    history was neglected in her Life Skills class. I'm enjoying the experience of
    reading this stuff with her because I did the same at more or less the same age
    (despite my own inadequacy WRT politics or memorizing names & dates of battles)
    & because I came under fire from a certain high school librarian who criticized
    me for reading the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid one after the other. Her
    stance was that my choice of material lacked variety. My stance... if kids had
    been allowed to express personal opinions in those days... would have been that
    I'd go on to reading other things when I'd finished with that particular topic.
    One historian says Alexander used the same stallion until the day he died while
    another says he retired the same horse a few years earlier. If Nora & I hadn't
    read different accounts we probably wouldn't know that. I like her style. :-)

    He will say truck and bus all the time when he sees one
    while we are driving around.

    Ah... I gather he's interested in wheeled objects which enable folks
    to get from Point A to Point B. When Nora was about the same your son is now &
    we were on our way to the local shopping area with her in the stroller (because
    she couldn't walk that far yet) she pointed out & correctly named a bus, a car,
    and a bicycle. I was thinking to myself "Wow, she's categorizing!" I once had
    a student in grade five who couldn't do that. Further on, at a street where we
    had to wait for traffic lights, she pointed out & correctly named a wheelchair.
    The occupant of the wheelchair gave me a disapproving look... I reckon her mind
    was stuck in the 1950's, when kids were taught it's rude to notice such things.
    By then Nora & I had spent so much time in hospital that to us a wheelchair was
    just one of many similar conveyances. If the woman had said anything to me I'd
    have pointed out that we were using a stroller for the very same reason she was
    using a wheelchair. IMHO this scenario epitomizes the inadequacy of "political
    correctness". I tend to forget about the chair when I focus on the human being
    sitting in it, and we've found younger wheelchair users invariably co-operative
    when we remark "I see you're using a Snazzy 350. How's the turning circle...?"

    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)