As you all know we have a wonderful group of people who help us with Ellie’s development. They come to our house on a regular basis and always arrive smiling and ready to help Ellie with whatever she needs. Today we had a visit from Ellie’s occupational therapist Liz. Liz is a wonderful person who I met when Ellie was less than one day old. She is comforting and knowledgable and I feel as though she is a friend who genuinely cares for Ellie. The first 15 minutes of our session involved us staring and smiling at Ellie, me bragging, Ellie showing off. Liz is always so impressed with Ellie, she is doing wonderful things. We worked on helping her express her needs and getting her to graduate to non puréed food. Here are some tips we’re working on: Ellie cries when she’s upset and laughs when she’s happy but Liz is helping me show Ellie more ways to express herself, like pointing to everything. When Travis walks into the room she wants me to point and exaggerate by saying “there’s daddy, see daddy, that’s daddy,” I will work on pointing to things so that Ellie will eventually see something she wants and point to it. It may take Ellie a little longer to formulate words so I need to express simple phrases, when Ellie wants to be picked up I can say, “up, up.” Every time she sits down for a meal I can say “food, food.” When it’s bath time, I can express with a single exaggerated word what we are doing and soon she will learn to use these words. Liz explained to me that food texture sensitivity is common with a lot of kids, not just those with Down Syndrome. The action of putting food in your mouth and moving it to swallow can be tricky, so we will keep practicing, and I can rub her cheeks to help with muscle strength. Ellie continues to teach me so many things. To decode how we learn things, to pick apart what seems like a simple task, and realize it’s more than what I imagined. She helps me see that she will accomplish everything in her own time allowing me to wonder why I’m in such a rush. I love these therapy moments, I feel like I’m learning about what it means to grow up step by step, and if any moment should be savoured, it’s these.
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