Every baby is a gift, even if the wrapping is a little different.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Mexican Jumping Bean

Yesterday morning I got my son up and fed him a big breakfast. Sometimes, when he's hungry he grinds his teeth. Last week at his speech therapy session he started grinding his teeth and twisting his hair even though he'd had breakfast and a snack. I was puzzled that he was hungry so quickly, but assumed he was just very hungry that morning. I wanted to prevent it this week so we could focus on his session and not his hunger, so I gave him extra food and even brought more for the ride to town.

On our drive to town he was fine, but as soon as we walked into the therapy building, he started to grind his teeth and twist his hair. It dawned on me that he wasn't doing it because he was hungry, it was because he was stressed. I guess the strange environment and an unfamiair person in this setting makes him stressed. I'm hoping he'll get over it as we work more with the therapist. He seemed to warm up by the end of the session so that's a good sign.

The therapist was giving me some advice to help my son use more speech. She encouraged me to let him be a boy. She said I should let him run around, jump on things, and crawl around because that would encourage him to talk. I stared at her. laughing to myself, and wondering if she was for reals. This kid regularly chases, and usually tackles, his older sister, much to her dismay. He jumps on the trampoline, runs around the backyard, and plays on the swingset whenever he can get outside (usually after he's let one of the outside cats into the house to jump up on the stove and eat the hamburger I'm cooking--but that's another story). He jumps all the time--piles up pillows so he can jump into them, jumps on the couch (even though it's against the house rules), and jumps up and down the stairs. In fact, if he's holding hands with people while walking somewhere he "counts" and then on three, he jumps. If you aren't expecting it, he can almost take you down to the ground. He jumps so much he reminds of a Mexican Jumping Bean.

So, yes, I do let him be a boy. He's extremely active. I don't think lack of activity contributes at all to his speech delay. In fact, if activity were tied to his speech, he'd be speaking like a college professor. I know the therapist meant well, she wants his verbal skills to improve, as do I, but sometimes, I have to wonder about what therapists say. I think if she'd stopped to think for a second, she'd have realized that with nine siblings not only is he active, but my entire house is in constant commotion.


  1. Interesting blog, Rebecca. My own sister is autistic and has mental deficiency as well. I remember when she came to live with us she was barely alive. It took four or five years before she spoke and now sweet Cheryl talks constantly. So don't be discouraged. Continue to encourage him to use his words when he wants something and go with your God-given instinct. You'll be guided with what you need to do if the therapist is giving you advice that is rather redundant, as you have so clearly indicated. :o)

    Good luck!

  2. And now you are discovering that some therapists (and doctors) tend to lump all kids with DS in a group. They don't see your child as an individual child with a specific set of issues, all they see is--a kid with DS. That's why you as his mom have to be up on the latest and go with your instinct, just like you did and do. You are a teriffic mom!

    I have had several therapists tell me complete myths about my daughter--outdated information that has clearly been refuted--with straight faces. They mean well, but how does meaning well help my daughter? Someone told me about how the tongues are larger than usual. Bull. The reason the tongue seems larger is that their mouths are typically smaller and the palate is shaped in more of a "V". Along with low muscle tone and sensory issues, sometimes their tongues will protrude.

    I actually had another therapist tell me that my daughter will stop learning around age 9 or 10! And these people are suppossed to be the experts? That is so not true, as evidenced by the many, many people with Down syndrome who go to college! I always correct these people, in a very nice way of course, because that's my job. I don't want them telling that crap to a young mom who might believe them.

    Anyway, sorry about the rant! You just keep doing what you do best and go with your gut! :)

  3. Thanks for your comments. I realize I'm not a speech therapist, or doctor, or even any kind of expert on DS. But, I do know my son and I'm not stupid. And, they don't know everything either. I've run into the same misinformation about the tongue. My favorite is, "They're always so happy." Really? My son must've missed that memo. Come to my house and you can see he's just like every other kid--he gets mad when he doesn't get his way, he pouts, he cries, etc.

    Thanks for the support and thanks for visiting.


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