Yesterday afternoon, we had the PBS station on TV, and they were interviewing a man who couldn’t speak well due to a disability.

My daughter Katherine, age 7, went up to the TV and turned up the volume, saying, “I’m trying to understand what he is saying.”

Bravo Katherine!

Katherine was very interested in hearing this man’s story, because she knows how hard he has to work for the things she takes for granted.

Katherine and her twin sister, Elizabeth, have learned a lot growing up with their brother, Wil. Their first questions about their brother’s Down syndrome came up when he turned 5.

They realized he wasn’t speaking at the same level as they were at 5 years old. The girls had vivid memories of that age, and what they were doing in Kindergarten. They recognized that Wil hadn’t achieved all of the milestones they had at that age.

The twins are only 20 months older than Wil, so in their memories, he has always been part of their lives. When Wil was only a few months old, his therapists visited our home on a regular basis. Its simply what the girls knew as the norm, and they would help him with his exercises. There were no questions, it just was.

Their first questions were about his speech. They wondered why he didn’t talk that much, and signed for things he wanted. Most of their questions started with, “When we were 5, we could do __. Why isn’t Wil able to do that?”

I simply answered that Wil was born with something called Down syndrome, and he will do all the things they can, he just needs some extra help so it may take him longer.

They understood that, and went on their merry way.

They continue to ask questions, and continue to help Wil with his exercises and therapy. I believe this has greatly opened their minds to appreciate the differences in others. Working with Wil, they realize the patience and encouragement it takes, and how hard he tries to do things they do with ease.

Wil loves playing with balloons, so his physical therapist recommended that he practice repeatedly bopping a balloon in the air to build upper body strength and coordination.

Wil’s sister, Elizabeth, enjoys doing this balloon activity with him, and Wil adores his big sister. He will play longer and work harder for her, and she likes being his “big helper.” Its a win/win.

Wil has the stereotypical stubbornness associated with Down syndrome. If he does not want to do something, he might plop down on the ground, hide under the table, or simply sit there and not cooperate. Wil’s teacher assistant has done wonders with him in this respect, and has found tools to “outstubborn him” as she likes to call it.

Though these tools she shared with me are very helpful, sometimes that stubbornness still reals its unmoving head, especially when he is tired.

One night, Wil and I were trying to get through his homework, and he was struggling. He was getting upset, and was refusing to work. Katherine asked if she could sit with him and help with his homework.

When she sat down, I swear I saw that stubbornness evaporate like a vapor before my eyes. He looked at her adoringly and hung on to every word.

On his homework, two die were pictured. One die had one dot, the other had two dots. He was to add them. We have 3 bean bags in our living room, so Katherine got up, and demonstrated with the bean bags how two come together with one to make three.

Bravo again, Katherine!

I’m very thankful that Katherine and Elizabeth have the gift of Wil, and that Wil has the gift of Katherine and Elizabeth.  And, I’m the blessed one to be called mommy by all three of these beautiful kiddos! 🙂

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brandy
    May 22, 2013 @ 12:53:55

    Children are just amazing! I absolutely love this!


  2. Christie Taylor
    May 22, 2013 @ 17:25:55

    Yes, they sure are!! Thanks, Brandy! 🙂


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