One of the very difficult things about having a child with DS is the milestones. Everyone tells you that each child is different (even typical kids) and that they’ll reach all the milestones in their own time. We’re not supposed to stress or be overly concerned about milestones, we shouldn't compare our kids to typical kids, and really not even to other kids with DS. And yet despite all this, twice a year we sit down to discuss exactly that: milestones. Tera has four therapists and a coordinator and twice a year we all meet to discuss which milestones she has met, which ones she hasn't met, and which ones we hope she’ll meet in the next year.
I have read the posts from other moms who dread these meetings because it can be a summary of the things our kids aren't doing yet. But I look forward to them. I like knowing where Tera is currently, I like celebrating her successes which I think all of her therapists do a great job of outlining, and I like knowing what we need to work on in the coming months and year.
Last night Tera had PT and her therapist asked us to start thinking about what we might want her goals to be for her annual review which is in February. Honestly, we weren't sure what to say. This would be one of those times when having a child with special needs can be incredibly informative because my guess is if you asked the parent of a typical child what the gross motor milestones were for the 2nd year, they probably wouldn't know off the top of their head. Last year was pretty easy; crawling and walking. This year we can check that off her list, but we need new goals for next year and now it’s not so obvious. Gross motor skills are the one area that we've never been as concerned with. Tera did crawl later than many typical kids, and she walked later than many typical kids, but she did both of them somewhat earlier than a lot of kids with DS; that just happens to be her area of strength.
So today, while my students are taking their final exams, I’m researching gross motor milestones for year two in both typically developing kids and kids with DS. We want to be prepared for her next meeting and know what goals we think are feasible and also what goals are a priority. If skipping is on the list for things a two year old is expected to be able to do, we probably won’t worry too much about it; but we’d like her to be able to walk up and down the stairs using the railing instead of our hands. Here are some sites I found and one that my very knowledgeable sister at the AAP was able to find for me:
The slightly more unnerving aspect of her next meeting is that one year from it, will be Tera’s exit meeting from Early Intervention and her transition meeting into Early Childhood. Our little girl will actually be going to school (not just what I call her daycare). It’s kind of scary to think about her being a little more out there in the world and not having the therapists that we've worked with for what will have been three years, there to know her personality and capabilities.
Throughout the next year I will be posting more on our experience through that research and transition and at this point all I can hope is that it goes smoothly and that as her parents we will feel comfortable with the services that she qualifies for and receives.
And maybe we should add less accident prone to her goals...