Friday, September 4, 2009


On one of the blogs I follow, written by a mum with a wee boy with DS who is about 6 months younger than Luke, the mum has been writing about her son's therapy. We have had issues with therapy in our time too, mostly the lack of it, and in some cases the quality (not you T in the Hawkes Bay!). We even moved so that we could access the type of therapy we wanted for Luke, and I feel really strongly about the fact that this type of therapy is not available all over the country.

We travel an hour and a quarter once a week to attend this centre. It is not home-based. I take Emily with me most of the time, but have found someone to help me out now, so that she will not always come and won't miss kindy so much.

Therapy is not just for Luke, it's about me too. I don't want people coming into my home non-stop just because Luke has a disability. I don't have this happen for the others, and I can be trusted to do my best without the powers that be deciding that they need to check us out. Yes, the centre is not Luke's natural environment. Neither is school for Ben or kindy for Emily. That doesn't mean it's not valuable or that they can't learn there. It's good for me to get out of the house and to not worry about the state of tidiness if I have professionals coming here all the time. It's good for Luke to be in a group setting and to be like everyone else. I love being just the same as all the other mums there. That they, like me, see Luke as Luke. Not Luke the boy with Down Syndrome. No stupid questions. Just other parents and their kids and celebrating their achievements and supporting each other and just being 'normal'.

There is measuring of progress, not against what 'typical' children are doing, but against what he has learned and what his next step should be. Making sure his development is progressing evenly across all areas.

The therapy is holistic. The therapists work together to teach Luke as a person, not seeing only his needs in their area of expertise in isolation. They KNOW him. I think they love him too. We focus on PLAY and I come away each week with a few ideas to try with him through play. He loves going and it is FUN.

We start each week with a shared morning tea, followed by a music therapy session. This is great, and allows us to reinforce sign as well as other concepts such as directions, animals, parts of the body in a way the kids enjoy. Luke has trouble sitting still! Then we rotate through the therapists.

Here is Luke working with L, the Communication specialist. We are doing a version of the Downs Ed See and Learn programme. Luke has the flash cards with the photo on one side and the word on the other. They look at the picture, and L signs the word as well as saying it.

Then Luke posts the card into the box. This is his favourite part!

He is excited to have grabbed two cards at once! Now he matches the photo on the card to the same one on the board. He is very good at this. He is also working on 'same' with his Early Intervention Teacher.
More focused on the matching now. He really checks out the photo, and often turns the card over to have a look at the other side where the word is. So cute.

Paying close attention to L as she encourages him to match the cards!

L signing 'washing' as Luke looks at the photo on his flashcard.

He signed 'finished' frantically once he had had enough, and I put him on the floor as I had a couple of questions I wanted to ask. When I turned around, he had crawled over to the Early Intervention teacher, plonked himself in the bumbo seat she uses, and started without me! Talk about motivated. I look forward to going every week.
Photos of what he does there next post. :)


Lisa said...

Luke looks like he is doing amazingly well... so glad to see you advocate for what you think is best for him and your family!

Anonymous said...

Easy to see he he takes after his Grandad. Keen, bright and happy !!! Go the Lukester !

Cathal's Mammy said...

Sounds brilliant! Just got a bunch of the Downs Ed books and I am slowly working my way through them.... a lot of information.

Unfortunately, services here are also very erratic. Depending on what part of the country, even which part of Dublin city you live, services differ vastly. We are one of the lucky ones to have a weekly group!