Monday, March 7, 2011

Cognitive Delay

Inside my house: Spring

Outside my house: winter/a lot of snow (this is a shot out my front door)
So after a good night's sleep and a lovely afternoon nap, I am feeling much more refreshed than I was when I wrote last night's whacky post. I'm sure you wondered what this pregnant lady was fear- it's just that sleepiness and sickness make me a little crazy.

My plan was to get a lot of writing done today, but Addison has been extra clingy and then I accidentally fell asleep during one of her naps, and being snowed in means that I should be making food for my hardworking husband who will come home absolutely starving after "plowing" since 4 this morning. So, Addison and I put chili in the crockpot and made banana bread, picked up around the house and did laundry. By "Addison and I" I mean I did all of the work and she crawled over to my ankle and held on like a dead weight (yes, clingy)

She did her part in eating the banana bread. I gave her a piece and sat across from her on the floor eating my piece off of a plate. She polished off her piece and then grabbed and ate mine. I know I should teach her not to do that, but I love how well she is self feeding, I hesitate to discourage any of it.

Truth be told, I have lately been very worried about her cognitive development. Gross Motor skills and fine motor skills are delayed, but I see progress and I see her working hard on them. But as far as cognitive skills- I see no improvement whatsoever.

She won't wave. She won't clap on demand. We have been doing the "How big" game since we brought her home and she still won't lift her little arms in the air to show how big she is. She shows absolutely no interest in doing any of the signs that we teach her (right now we are focusing on "More"...she wants nothing to do with it) Also, she will babble all the day long with Mama, Dada, and Baba...but will not repeat any of them back to me if I ask for a syllable or if I ask what my name is or Aaron's.

I have noticed that if I say certain words, such as "more" or "cracker"- she will smile as if she knows what is coming, but that isn't a consistent response.
Of course this doesn't mean that I love her any less or am any less proud of her. I am just concerned and am looking for suggestions to break past the blank stare and find out if she actually understands me. I mean, waving is a pretty basic skill. Why won't she do it? Why won't she respond to anything that I ask her to do? The therapist said that we should do something thousands of times before she will catch on- pretty sure we have done "How big" tens of thousands of times and she still just stares at me blankly and firmly holds her arms to her side and even resists when I try to pull them up for her.
I will say, she loves to crawl up onto things- her target destination these days is mostly my lap. I'll sit cross legged on the floor to watch her play or play with her, and sooner or later she ends up half crawled onto my lap and kissing/biting my stomach...I use the opportunity to talk to her about her sibling and love that she is constantly crawling towards my stomach. I can't wait until the baby kicks hard enough so that she can feel it while her little face is pressed up against me. The first sign of sibling rivalry. (-:

When I found out that my baby was going to have Down syndrome- that's one of the biggest things that scared me- the label "mental retardation" and the low expectations for cognitive development. I work very hard with Addison and would love to just see some encouragement in this field. I just wish I knew what sort of connection I need to make for her to start putting some of these pieces together.

I hate it when therapists and such ask specific questions that are targeting where she is in this area and I almost want to lie about it sometimes, but I don't because I desperately need the help from them. Also, I observe friends with babies with Ds who have been waving and such for months and months and I wonder what I am doing wrong? As loving as the Ds community is, I think there is a fair amount of competition, even though no one will probably admit it. (-:

Also- no matter what, I still stick to my original assessment that she is smart because she is. I know that she will have her strengths and weaknesses such as any child- I just want to help her with these weaknesses so that she can communicate her many thoughts to the world. I mean, to listen to her babble, you would think that she was sharing deep dark baby secrets that she just can't hold in any longer. She just does it only on her own terms and won't respond to any of my questions. She is very stubborn, and I wonder if this is part of it, but have no way of knowing either way. I just want my almost 13 month old to wave. Is that too much to ask?


  1. I'm sure you do, but do you wave her arm for her or just wave at her? Sutter is a fairly quick learner because he likes to mimic but it does take a TON of repetition, far more than Landon needed when he was this age. He does call Rich dada and will occasionally say mama but not in reference to me...he works much harder at saying Landon - go figure! If you ask her where daddy is will she find him in the room?

    Just keep working on it, she'll get it. It seems like she's going through a HUGE gross motor development stage right now so maybe everything else is on the back burner.

  2. Yes, we wave her arm for her- both of them even at times. She will sometimes look towards Aaron when I ask her where dada is, but once again not consistently enough for me to think she's putting the pieces together.

  3. I'll agree on the competition no one talks about...but to be fair, I know it's there among moms with typical kids too...I think that's just a part of parenting...
    and I know it sucks...and if it makes you feel any better Brooke did absolutely nothing for months before she exploded into a clapping waving out of no where...but you know what? I can't get my baby to laugh out loud and that breaks my heart...
    breathe in and out mama...she'll get there, and then you'll wonder why it even mattered...

  4. I was just sharing your video on Friday night with some company we had over. You were singing "Happy Birthday to Daddy", and we ALL heard Addison say, CLEAR AS A BELL, "Happy Birthday, Dada"! This little girl is amazing. I know I'm no expert, but I believe she'll do all of these things in time, and she'll continue to amaze everyone!

  5. Yup, yup, yup and yup. I know we have had a little success with Lily waving (although she doesn't want to do it anymore) and "so big" (she dropped that trick too) but she cannot repeat a sound back to us, can't sign anything, doesn't look in response to any words (like where is Daddy, or where's the dog, etc.) As far as clapping- she can't even coordinate her hands together like that yet, let alone asking her to do it on demand.

    And as you said, it doesn't make me love her any less, just makes me much she is grasping.

    I just had someone contact me, asking me if I could review a parenting book for them on my blog. The author told me with glee that she had a cousin with Ds who "advanced to the mental capacity of a five year old!" and lived to age 45. I.was.heartbroken. Thank you, new author, I don't believe you will be wanting my commentary on your email, let alone your book.

    No, it is not too much to want your baby to wave. I want so much more for Lily too. Let's expect, not accept! If you figure out what works, email me.

    And I only said all this, because I know you get it. You already know that our kids aren't a burden. We just want so much for them, and there is nothing wrong with that!

  6. :) Addison is a rockstar! i know how you feel about the competitive feeling...i catch myself reading through others' blogs all of the time to see when and how their kiddos are doing things...and then i have to have my husband tell me to stop lol. Addison is doing a lot of great things...for crawling like a mad woman! how awesome is that! cam inch worms but he doesn't go very far at all, only when he absolutely has to get to something will he do it, and he has been sitting in four point for three months now without disassociating his arms and legs. and i wish sometimes he was more of a go getter with the crawling business. i think kids with down syndrome are little perfectionists, and try really hard and perfecting a skill or skills before they move onto the next...and cam is hit and miss in the cognitive area too...he will only do things when he wants to and of course never when he needs to or i want him to :)

    but i know how you feel about wanting addison to be her best, and she is smart! so smart! :) we only want our kids to be their absolute best, and it is so easy to fall into the, am i doing enough? way of thinking. She will get it...and once she starts waving i bet you won't be able to get her to stop and you will wonder why you ever worried in the first place :)

  7. I was going to ask you started clapping before he started waving...and he began clapping by clapping my hands, i would have him hold my pinky fingers and then i would clap and eventually he began clapping my hands...and then soon his own. he still likes to clap my hands sometimes and it is how we are learning the motions to patty might already be doing that but thought i would throw it out there :)

  8. Maybe she's waiting for that visit from Aunt Karen. I bet she'll wave for me:) Seriously, though, I can't wait to see her again (and you too of course), and hear all that cute babbling for myself.

  9. I know how you feel...I swear if one more worker asks me if Russell can bang two toys together or stack blocks I am going to SCREAM! Our kids are over analyized, by EVERYONE, including ourselves and thats just the sad truth. Sometimes I feel bad for Russell that every tiny thing has to be looked at and watched for. He has never been allowed to just be himself. And I know thats my fault. Once he learns something I almost rush him on to the next thing, just so I can be sure he can do it.
    I dont know if I would call what goes on in the Ds community competition, but definatly comparison...Because we all want to see what other Moms are doing to be sure we are not missing something...We want to see when their kids learned things to make sure our kids are not way behind...And Holly is right that comparison happens with "typical" developing children as well...Its a Mom thing, and its silly.
    I think one of our biggest fears when we hear the Ds diagnoses, is how smart our kids will be, how independant. I remember being scared to death when Russell was about 9 or 10 months old because he did have a blank stare whenever I tried to teach him something. Passing the ball back and forth to him took me over a week...When ever I would pass it to him he would just stare...Deanna I remember crying at one point thinking why doesnt he understand...I was scared. But eventually he caught on.
    Tonya had a good point with the hand clapping...Put you hands over top of Addisons then clap...Russell started by doing that too...He still grabs for my hands at times and directs them to what he wants to do. You just need to figure out what way Addison learns best. I have been told its through a LOT of repition...And what seems like forever of repeating something to us, is not to our kids. They need that.
    Addison is smart, look at her crawling all over the house getting into stuff! That takes a lot of cognitive...She KNOWS she wants to go somewhere and does it! And that video of her crying whenever you stopped playing the drum, haha, she KNEW how to fake cry to get you to do it again. Her little mind is going. And maybe she just doesnt want to wave or clap...Jordy was like that...She just didnt WANT to do those things. Try not to worry, I know its hard. I bet within a week or so you will start seeing some progress...I find whenever I write about something I am scared of a few days later Russell will start doing it, lol

  10. Ooops, that was really long, sorry about that! Apparently I had a lot to say, lol

  11. Don't get discouraged! Your little sweetie will surprise you one day and do all of the things that you have been working with her on.I did things over,and over with Ruby and she will do most of the things I have worked with her on now but it took a very long time.
    Your little girl is very smart and even when you don't think she is paying attention she is ,so don't give up. :)Just wait you will be one of those mom's who is just bursting with joy because your child can do something and letting everybody know and everyone will be cheering for you.
    Oh and my Ruby has learned a lot of signs but for some reason she has never ever signed more.She just doesn't want to sign for more.
    Your daughter is beautiful!

  12. I just wanted to write and say Addison will learn to wave in her time.:)My almost 15 month old still refuses to say please in sign even though all seven of her older siblings did it before their first birthday.Sometimes it just takes time.:)~Nikki


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