I've rarely blogged about Nathan's development lately, because in the grand scheme of things, he's doing very well, and his therapists are terrific about acknowledging his progress. But, as his Mom, it just breaks my heart to see him struggle. This weekend Nathan's teacher Nicole, came to visit us at camp, and it was a great opportunity for me to go up on the jungle gym with him while Nicole stayed at the bottom of the slide to catch him on his descent. There were lots of other little ones playing too, and it gave me the chance to really see Nathan's developmental challenges.
He struggled right out of the gate. Trying to climb the ladder which led to the slide, was a major hurdle for Nathan. He just couldn't get the motor plan together to figure it out; even though he knows how to climb regular slide stairs. The ladder, although the same concept, is visually different and he tried really hard, but wasn't able to put it together.
Once I got him up the ladder, he had to duck down to make it through a tunnel or go through a walk way that has a smaller opening on either side to get to the slide. The path he chose, forced Nathan to duck down at both ends. Well, we made it through the initial opening and he took off like a bolt of lightening; only to end up running straight into the other side, full speed ahead. I saw this coming, and as I was trying to sneak through, I kept yelling, "Nathan watch where your going!" To no avail. SMACK! And, down he went. Broke my heart.
Nathan has yet to develop the ability to multi-function (not sure what else to call it). He can't run, process where he is in space, and duck to avoid potentially catastrophic occurrences, like this. He has yet developed the cognitive ability to associate climbing the ladder with climbing the slide stairs. He will, I know. But, to watch your toddler struggle while all the other little ones are making this look like 'child's play,' pun intended, was devastating. This is because Nathan has Down syndrome, yeah I know, but I take some of the blame here myself. Nathan's smart...he just needs practice. He needs to be put in this environment more, and given the proper support to succeed. I'm sure this will be a constant thread throughout our lives. It's fine. It is, what it is.
I don't want this post to be a total downer because Nathan's making tremendous progress in many areas of development. He is verbalizing and mimicking words like crazy. His sign language abilities have increased tremendously, and he's beginning to understand how communication, either verbal or through sign, is a tool to getting what he wants. I've taught him the sign for "movie," because he has his own DVD player in the car, for our frequent drives everywhere! And now, whenever we get into the car, he signs movie because he wants to watch his favorite Sesame Street shows. He just loves the music and the characters. It's so fun to watch him interact with the DVD's. We're heading to Sesame Place in a few days and he's going to have a blast! We have a fun filled couple of days ahead of us, and we just can't wait to see him light up when he watches the shows and spends time with the REAL Elmo! YEAH!! Watch out Cookie Monster, we're coming to town!