First, last Thursday, a few members from his therapy team came to visit and evaluate him. His occupational therapist twisted him this way, rolled him that way and tested his strengths and weaknesses in several areas. I'm proud to say he's a tough little guy, and is doing everything she expected him to do. His special education teacher was here as well and explained to me the process of the therapy adventure we are embarking on. After the initial evaluations, his team is going to put together a plan of "goals" for Sam for his first year. These goals could include gross motor skills like rolling over, sitting up, standing and even walking. We'll also work with him on some fine motor skills like grabbing and holding toys, self feeding and more. You might be reading this wondering why in the world he'd need therapy to accomplish these things that other babies just do in the first year. With Sam's Down syndrome, he's likely to move through these stages at a slower pace. We've been told to expect him to do everything a bit later than a typical child would.
Along with what his therapy team strives for, Kevin and I are also a big part of this plan. We will work in partnership with his team to determine what we hope for him this first year, and what we would like to see him capable of by the time he reaches his first birthday. It's a little scary to think that he'll need help to learn these things, but we are so grateful to have people in our corner who know exactly what they're doing. Our daughters did everything "on time" and it's going to take patience and understanding on our part to work with Sam and celebrate with him at each and every milestone.
Speaking of milestones...we've reached one already! Remember how I mentioned Sam would be "slower" than the average baby to do some things like rolling over, sitting up and standing, etc? Well, last Thursday, Sam knocked our socks off and rolled over! The first time he did it, I thought it was a fluke...so we rolled him back over and the little stinker did it again! We know it's not a fluke, because he's rolled from his back to his tummy twice, and from his tummy to his back five times in the past week. I cried some huge tears of joy with that first roll - it was like Sam was trying to tell us - "See?!? I'm going to be able to do so many things - you just watch! Stop being afraid, I'm healthy and I'm strong!!" I didn't realize how badly I needed to see him do this - I can't even explain the pride that I felt...and this is just rolling! Imagine when he takes his first steps!!
The very next day, Sam started sleeping through the night, and he's been doing so consistently ever since. He's such a good baby - so mellow and relaxed, and hey - I'm not going to complain about a few extra hours of sleep!!
|Denyce, Jodi and Sam at the shower|
Down Syndrome Creed - Author unknown
My face may be different, but my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry and I take pride in my gains.
I was sent here among you to teach you to love,
as God in the heavens looks down from above.
To Him I'm no different, His love knows no bounds,
It's those here among you in cities and towns,
that judge me by standards that man has imparted.
But this family I've chosen will help me get started
For I'm one of the children so special and few,
that came here to learn the same lessons as you.
That love is acceptance, it must come from the heart,
we all have the same purpose, though not the same start.
The Lord gave me life, to live and embrace -
And I'll do it as you do, but at my own pace.
I had never heard this poem before, and after the first five words were read, I knew it wasn't your average baby shower poem. The words instantly touched and spoke to me. Of course, it wouldn't be the last time I heard that poem. Later that day, Kevin's cousin gave us a beautiful gift - the Down Syndrome Creed in a lovely frame to hang up in our home. We were advised to place it somewhere we could stop and read it every day if needed, and that is exactly what we've done.
|Payge and Sam on their BIG day|
|Sam's godparents - Sarah, Kim, Dan and Linda|
|Proud daddy and Sam caught snoozing!|