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Learners

From the time a baby makes eye contact with her mother and father, those parents can begin to see the moods, expression and knowledge in their child. The challenge many parents have is convincing schools and other structured settings that their child is truly a learner. With the visibiity of Down syndrome, it can be particularly difficult for parents to convince outsiders of the strengths of their child. Yet, for those of us who have watched our children learn, there is almost a magical perseverence required of them to do every day tasks. For example, when a baby without challenges wants a toy out of reach, she merely crawls toward it. When a baby with Down syndrome, who cannot yet crawl, wants that same toy, she must do so much more! The sequence I have observed goes like this:

Baby:

Sees toy.

Recognizes toy is out of reach. 

Decides rolling may put her within reach.

Rolls toward toy.

Sits up again only to realize toy is still out of reach.

Baby rolls again to get a bit closer. 

Baby reaches toy.

So, when we really anaylze our babies with Down syndrome and their learning capabilities, we must begin with recognizing that different is not worse. Some of the very challenges which make life more difficult for them also enable them to learn differently and to expand their future learning!


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