Sunday, 16 September 2012

Quick update

A few pictures of what Ella has been getting up to recently:


Her favourite viewing position for Mr Tumble

A lovely afternoon with Daniel and his mummy...






A selection from our weekend away with Granny, Chris, Uncle Tommy & Aunty Vicki, Uncle Henry & Aunty Izzy...






The Gruffalo is a favourite at the moment...

He has terrible tusks and terrible Jaws,
And terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.

He has knobbly knees and turned out toes,
and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose.

His eyes are orange and his tongue is black,
He has purple prickles all over his back

Oh Help! Oh No! It's the Gruffalo...

 Ella is going to love roller coasters!




Will never get tired of watching her do this xx


After our woodland carriage ride...Not at all sure of Sherman the horse.


Give us an E...

The biggest recent news is that we have a gorgeous little kitten.  Ella crawls at speed after her (Kitten is not sure of Ella at the moment). Whenever Ella sees her, she attempts to say 'cat' and then does the sign for cuddle and says 'aaaaah'.  She's been having a go at playing with her too...


I am sure they will get used to each other soon.



Monday, 10 September 2012

Thank you, Makaton

Learning to communicate is one of the fundamental life skills and we start learning from the day we are born.  It's a skill that a lot of us take for granted but have you ever thought about what it would be like not to be able to ask, tell, explain, name objects, express emotion, read, or write?  I already know, at 21 months old that Ella will get very frustrated if she can't make herself understood.  Or I become frustrated that I can't communicate with her - not because she won't understand me but because sometimes I don't know how to....

And this is where Makaton sign language has been an invaluable tool that we (as well as grandparents, friends & family) can use to communicate better with her - and of course,  her with us. 

Makaton uses signs and symbols to aid communication.  The signs are mostly intuitive and involve an action rather than a static sign.  The word that you are signing is always spoken alongside the sign, unlike sign language.  It is known that babies understand verbal language and words long before they can speak themselves.  Signing can therefore be used to bridge the gap between understanding and talking.  And using the sign doesn't stop children from speaking or delay their speech. Once they can verbalise the word, the sign drops off as they no longer need it.  Makaton is also used by older children and adults with many differing language needs or disabilities.  A lot of signs you see in public buildings are makaton symbols and almost everyone has heard of Mr Tumble and his  infamous spotty bag!... 


As the alter ego of Justin Fletcher, he has really raised the profile of makaton signing in his 'Something Special' series and made it more accessible to parents and children.  He has also given children with disabilities a chance to be included and seen on TV which is another big plus to the programme.  Both myself and my mum have 'Something Special' on series link and have both found watching it really useful - learning signs in context rather than out of a book means they are much more memorable (and I do have a soft spot for Mr Tumble too...!)

So, to the reason for this post...After they saw a previous post I wrote about Makaton via Twitter, the Makaton Charity asked me to consider writing a blog for their website.  It didn't take me long to agree to do it, I have been a regular visitor to their website over the last few months.  They have a wealth of information, resources to buy or download and national makaton training programmes.  

I remember reading the existing blogs from other families - how and why they use makaton on a day to day basis.  They were reassuring to me at a time when we were signing away to Ella and getting blank or amused looks back... I wondered if she would ever start signing but from reading other stories I knew Ella would get there in her own time.  And she has come so far in such a short time, with new signs appearing every week.

You can read our story following the link below. If I am able to reassure another parent just like me at the beginning of their Makaton journey then I will be more than happy...


Another fellow blogger and mum to Natty (who also has DS) has also recently written a post about Makaton which is a lovely, informative read and can be found here:

Do We Really Need Makaton?

Dad of Eleanor also writes about Makaton and its value for children with DS, you can read it Here

Thank you for reading xx


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Learning to fly...

It's official.  Ella is no longer a baby...  This Friday she leaves the baby room at nursery and moves up to the toddler room...  It's only been ten months since I went back to work and Ella started nursery. In lots of ways it feels like much longer.  And all the worries I had back then seem almost silly now.  

More than anything I am glad that I trusted my instincts and stood by my decision to send her to the 'mainstream' nursery at my workplace.  It was a leap of faith for them and us as they have never had a baby with Down's Syndrome before. I could too easily have sought out a nursery that caters for children with special needs but I had heard such good things from my colleagues and I knew when I walked through the door that this is where I wanted her to go.  Besides, my stubborn side stood her ground - I'd put her name down before she was born and just because things hadn't turned out the way I'd planned I didn't see why we couldn't give it a go... 

So, we took a breath and made that leap....




...And I couldn't have asked for more.  The girls in the baby room have given my girl her wings and enabled her to fly much, much higher than I could ever imagined... 




All I ever wanted was for Ella to be included alongside her peers and to be loved and cared for, for no other reason than because she is Ella.  The nursery have embraced her and her needs just as they do with every child they look after.  She has come on so much in ten short months...  sitting, crawling, signing, talking, socialising, playing and feeding.  And all thanks to the hard work of the staff who always go above and beyond for every baby in their care. An amazing place for Ella to start her educational journey.  




 Because 'everyone deserves a chance to fly'...xx







Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Messy business...

It's taken some time but Ella has recently started taking an interest in feeding herself.  At the moment, this lasts for two to three spoonfuls and then she reverts to using her hands.  Which is all well and good, unless you're attempting to eat porridge... mealtimes can get rather messy!...






Who said you can't eat porridge with your hands?...






It still amazes me how far Ella has come with her feeding.  We struggled from the very start.   We are here today via NG tube, oral aversion, open heart surgery and a gastrostomy.  She will get there, she's come so far already!  

Most amazingly development wise, she can now drink from a straw.  She never sucked as a baby and it's a really important skill required for speech and language development in all children (uses and tones the muscles used for speech).  I was up for the challenge of teaching her this skill and decided to introduce her to it and see how we got on.  

No teaching required.  She just put it in her mouth and knew what to do with it (along with some gentle squeezing of the carton by Aunty Vicky to start with). 

We will never get tired of watching her do this - there was a lot of heartache at the very beginning over not being able to breastfeed and the struggle with bottle feeding that led to her being NG fed...


In other news, Ella continues to communicate well and I find myself adding new signs and words to her display every week.  Her most recent sign is 'baby/doll' which I didn't know she knew.  We got home from nursery and she pointed at her doll and did the sign for 'baby'...

I have also spent an entire evening cutting and laminating the 'see and learn' picture card resources.  We have started using them with the suggested activities and so far so good...


She's also been standing unsupported for a few seconds, still loves being on her trike and has been having fun with herself the mirror...






We've also been witnessing a new style of 'crawling' recently...

And a lot of 'oooops'....

Thanks for reading xx





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...