When we started our special needs life, I was unaware of how hard and how amazing it would be all at the same time. My little girl has Down Syndrome and Autism. She had many medical needs early in her life. She has many developmental, cognitive, and verbal delays. She has sensory struggles that make lots of things difficult, but she also has lots of support. She has siblings that encourage her to achieve goals and milestones. She has parents that fight to meet every need. She has amazing therapists that open up her world. We have had a dozen years of combined therapies. She has spent most of her life in sessions learning how to communicate and do daily tasks on her own. I would love to say that it has been easy, but that would not be the truth. I will say, that it has always been worth it.
For many years, she didn't really speak. She made sounds, but they were unintelligible. I wanted so much to understand her and she wanted so much to be understood. We have been attending speech sessions for most of her life. Her therapists are wonderful. One of the goals has always been to give her the tools she needs to communicate more effectively. We get closer and closer to this goal with each session. I love that her therapists make it fun and engaging. They use different devices, games, and strategies while creatively giving her tools to get her point across. We have been so amazed at how far she has come with each session. Just as much as communicating with language is vitally important, so is being aware of the world around her.
Part of Down Syndrome is low muscle tone and part of her ASD is sensory and social struggles. We needed to help her experience the world in way that would make sense to her and help her thrive. She couldn't do that if everything was overwhelming for her. OT found its way into our routine early as well. I was only able to get her so far and realized I needed some help. With the addition of OT, she has learned to feed herself, dress herself, use scissors, and write her name. Some of her biggest accomplishments recently.. learning how to make a friend, riding on the bus, transitioning from one thing to another (without a major meltdown) and to be less afraid to try new things.
She has so much to say and wants to have so many experiences, but the ability to do that was locked away. Speech and OT have given us a key and given her the ability to invite us in. She learns through play and fun activities. She learns in her own time, at her own pace.
Speech and OT (or any therapy for that matter) can be inconvenient and time consuming. Sometimes the progress is slow and it seems like you will never get to the finish line. Sometimes the strategies the therapist is using makes no sense to you. Sometimes, your child doesn't want to go or is uncooperative. Sometimes, you want to give up. I have learned that when the task is the hardest, the reward is the greatest.
Kim Wong- parent, office manager, super hero.
11/21/2019 11:41:22 am
You are amazing Kim! Such an inspiration ❤️
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