Moxie starts Kindergarten today.
I wonder if she has been prepared well?
We started off our road with her Down syndrome with all the therapy that was recommended.
Shaker things and playmate with toys and a therapist to watch her bat stuff? On it!
Things with tassels to stimulate and do something else really (supposedly) awesome? Got that checked, friend!
Blocks! Sand! Brightly-colored chewy things! Musical instruments! Done, done and done!
And then, I dunno.
I just start seeing things about her that were clearly related to Down syndrome.
I wrote the post, “More Alike Thank Different… and Yet..” I became much more interested in learning about the child that Moxie is, rather than molding her to something that professional therapists were encouraging her to be.
Mikey and I just really let her go. We let go of all that therapy and just her be a kid.
This is hellaciously difficult as a parent of a child with Down syndrome, you know.
a) Because we really don’t know a whole lot about the “syndrome” part of “Down syndrome” – what makes it the syndrome, exactly? And is not engaging in shit-tons of therapy really going to hurt?
b) Therapy and trying to “fix” Down syndrome is shoved down our throats at every turn.
c) We are parents who love our child – and would not want to hurt her. Making the choice to not engage in therapy means that our belief that the therapy really didn’t have much to offer her had to be stronger than our belief than it did. But we don’t actually know that for a fact, as we don’t know that much about the syndrome itself, and how hers interacts with all that therapy. We’re guessing here. The therapists are guessing too! Are they the ones who are right? Who knows.
We just continued our lives, sans therapy.
As a family, we are pretty committed to being free and living authentically.
And travel. Always travel!
We may never know what the “right” thing to have done was.
We have taken her to more than a few countries, tried to teach her ASL as well as English. We’ve indulged her in her favorite shows, and she’s certainly learned a lot of the three R’s through them!
We ditched all therapy except for speech therapy and the horse therapy we were able to take advantage of with her preschool teacher. We did not engage in flashcards. Or anything of that sort, really.
We did give her a ton of space and opportunity to be free. Maybe even a little wild?
Working on the idea that Down syndrome isn’t a bad thing, and coming from a perspective of embracing her extra chromosome and hoping that she will lean in and want to be defined by it, we choose only the therapies that obviously help her.
And that’s it.
She has a sparkly teacher, friends in the classroom. She has an IPE that focuses on speech – because she still doesn’t talk all that much.
She has so much going for her, including a school (and community) that values her, sees value in her.
She is a really happy child. Not happy because of something to do with Down syndrome; she’s happy because her life is overall, a happy one. She’s happy because she is learning, growing and moving in an environment that suits and embraces her.
Back to the question I asked in the beginning of this post, “I wonder if she has been prepared well?”
I don’t feel like weaving an answer that I am not certain of. I can’t say for sure that she is. I can’t say for sure that not engaging in tons of therapy was the right answer. I can’t say that not doing the flashcard thing and being more of a sloth-mama than a tiger-mama was the thing to do.
All I know is that everything feels good to us.