Parenthood. Life. Down syndrome. Faith.

My life changed a lot when I found out my 3rd child would be born with Down syndrome. But then again, it really hasn't changed so much.

We're still living life, trusting God, raising our kids, and loving having a baby in the house.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Down syndrome Awesomeness

A pesky third chromosome isn't holding these people back!

Prima Donna ballet dancer  - Aline Favaro is a professional ballerina

Figure Skater - Jonathan Clutterbuck won gold in a figure skating competition in Scotland

City Mayor - √Āngela Bachiller is the mayor of a city in Spain

Artist - Erik David Behnke is a professional artist in Alaska

Mt Everest mountain climber - Eli Reimer became the first person with Down syndrome to summit Mt Everest

Wildlife Photographer - Oliver Hellowell is a professional wildlife photographer and accomplished skateboarder

Restaurant Owner - Tim Harris owns and runs his own restaurant in Albuquerque

Television ReporterFernanda Honorato is a reporter in Rio de Janeiro

Flamenco DancerThalia Arbelaez is an internationally acclaimed dancer from Florida.  Her styles include ballet, flamenco, belly dancing, tap, and more.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Favorite Sites

This is a list of my favorite websites, ones that include useful information about how to encourage, nurture, stimulate, and help my child reach his goals.

BrillKids - print flash cards with black/white images for visual stimulation.  Our OT recommended these cards and gave me a small pile she'd printed out.  I went the step further and printed these from BrillKids so I could tape them up around the house.  I have some in his changing area, some in his play area, etc.  Print either Patterns or Objects.  Or you can buy the cards for $15.

BrillKids flash cards
DomanMom - this is a blog detailing how to use Glenn Doman's teaching techniques.  It's a down-to-earth blog full of "doable" ideas.  Maybe you don't have space for an 8' crawling track, but I'll bet you can find lots of ideas that you CAN do, starting today.  It also has daily checksheets that you can use to keep track of your activities.  I use this one for babies & toddlers.  I'm so busy (aren't we all?!) that it's hard to remember when or if you've done something. 

BabyCenter Down Syndrome forum and BabyCenter Down Syndrome Pregnancy forum - two great forums for support, ideas, and more.  Moms from all over the world gather to discuss our special kiddos.

Noah's Dad - written by a father of a child with Down syndrome, this blog is full of great stuff, including lists of toys that Noah liked best.  I go here first for toy ideas.  

Oral Therapy Video - this is a great video demonstrating some oral exercises that help shape the palate for proper eating and helping to prevent tongue thrust.  

New Parent Video - this video was created for new parents of a child with Down syndrome. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to tell older siblings that your baby has Down syndrome

When we found out 22 weeks into our pregnancy that Cade would have Down syndrome, one of our first thoughts was "How do we tell Camille?"  She was 7 years old and very smart.  Certainly, there was no hiding it from her.  She is intuitive and picks up on our emotions pretty easily.  Also, she'd already noticed that we went to the doctor a lot more often.

We wanted to tell her before Cade was born so she wouldn't be afraid or feel left out.  We chose to wait until we were fully okay with the news ourselves.  No sense getting teary eyed and scaring her.  I also bought the book "We'll Paint the Octopus Red " in preparation.  In hindsight, this book was a little young for her.  I think it would be very appropriate for a 4-6 year old.  But it did help us to open the door to communication a bit more easily.

We'd known Cade's diagnosis for about a month.  I brought her home from school, we sat at the table, and I asked her if she'd noticed that we had had a LOT of doctor's appointments lately.  Yes, of course she had.  And we went from there.  I felt my way along through the conversation, letting her be the guide.  I explained that he would learn a bit slower but would probably do everything she and Colby can do.  I told her that our bodies are made of cells, which contain DNA, and that regular DNA has 46 chromosomes, or building blocks.  She seemed to understand.

Camille and I cuddled on the couch as I read the book to her.  She had a couple of simple questions.  Would he always have Down syndrome?  And then, to my delight..."He will be perfect just the way he is and we'll love him just as much."  Oh yes, baby, we sure will.

The next day, I took her with me to an appointment with our genetics counselor.  We showed the counselor our book (she hadn't seen it before) and we talked a bit more about what to expect.  Camille had a few more questions but didn't seem at all intimidated or fearful.

Today, Cade is 3 months old and Camille is the perfect big sister.  She's 8 now and loves Cade to pieces.  She totes him around the house, gets him to giggle, and helps with his therapy.  They're amazing together.

Colby is 3 years old and we've never bothered explaining Down syndrome to him.  His only question, ever, is whether Cade will play cars with him someday.  Yep, I'm pretty sure he will!