Saturday, 20 July 2013

Little mama

Best little mama I know...

One of the first of many sisterly moments xx

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Look who's talking...

Ella's speaking and signing have improved a lot over the last few months.  This means that communicating with her is becoming a lot easier - she can answer simple questions, follow directions and she can tell us what she wants (and what she doesn't).  The word 'no' seems to be a favourite!   She's now starting to copy speech sounds, still chats away constantly and is learning new words and signs every week.  Her speech pronunciation isn't always clear (especially in words with lots of speech sounds together such as 'please' or 'crying' - other words such as 'car', 'yes' or 'no' are very clear for all to understand).  I know other people sometimes struggle to understand her even though I know what she is saying (or signing).  

So with her expanding vocabulary, our new task is to get her to begin to put words or signs together to start building simple sentences.  It's still a little difficult at this stage as Ella doesn't have all the words needed and none of us know the signs for everything so, for now, conversation incorporates both words and signs not one or the other.   

She's a very sociable little girl and charms people wherever we go.  Waiting rooms are her favourite place, she loves going up to people and talking with them... her 'hello' breaking through the silence! In most social situations she will seek out the one person who's on their own, minding their own business and start chatting away to them (whether they like it or not!).  In a lot of ways I am so grateful she uses makaton, but it really does limit who can fully understand her as a knowledge of the signs is needed.  I am always around to interpret for her for now though.  

Another thing we've begun working on is memory recall and improving her short term memory as these can be poor in children with Down's Syndrome. I've made up some Makaton flash cards and laminated them so we can take them out and about and use them in a variety of places.  Ella is beginning to understand the concept but we've not been using them very long.

I downloaded them from the cbeebies website as I liked the format - word, sign, symbol and picture of the object.  It's also easy to make your own as the website resources are very good, but limited.  For the moment I've included things we might see on our walks - car, bus, cat, dog, flower, garden, rain, sun etc.  She can find them during the walk or I lay them out on the floor when we get home and we go through what she has seen.  They should work well as they appeal to the visual learning style of children with Down's syndrome.  If she benefits from them I can expand their use and add to them as needed...

I've extended the memory exercise to bedtime as well - talking about her day. Where she has been, who she has seen and what she has done.  She has stared to join in at times which is lovely to see that she's remembering her day.  

We've also started on teaching Ella her colours and she's slowly getting the hang of them.  She knows the signs for all the common colours and this reinforces her understanding a lot.  The colour purple is a favourite (good sensory word to say!).  In the recent hot weather, a paddling pool full of balls has provided a good way to teach her and test her colour knowledge. We know that repetition is key to learning with Ella so we do colours at any opportunity - cars when out and about, pictures in books, clothes etc.

Ella has been awarded 10 hours support at nursery from September.  This is great news as she will get some one on one time and be able to focus on specific things relating to her development.  We are hoping the time will be used to enhance her speech and language and also possibly start with potty training.  She has just begun to tell us when she has done a poo in her nappy which is definitely the first step towards becoming nappy free. We are in no rush though and it will take as long as it takes.

She is still enjoying being a big sister and Lucy is definitely becoming a happier (and cheekier) baby!...

I've still not got much time to blog, but have a few new posts lined up when I get chance to finish them - DLA forms, online friends and Superheroes coming soon!!
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