March 29, 2010

Birthday Numbers

For parents of a little one with Down syndrome, birthdays mean more than just parties and gifts. There are also rounds of annual doctors appointments with specialists and evaluations for therapists and early intervention programs. We are lucky to have most of Chase's annual specialist visits spread out over the next several months, but today was the first of several evaluations that will take place this month.

The occupational therapist spent today's therapy time performing a fine motor skills assessment. Although Chase has many impressive skills such as sitting up tall and reaching far across midline, there are also several skills which he has yet to master. We are primarily working on his ability to pick up pieces of cereal with his thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp), handing over objects when asked, and moving purposefully to pick objects up which are a foot or so away from him while leaning on one hand.

The tough part of this is that whereas there was not much of a gap between Chase's age and skill level when he was younger, the expected gap that comes along with Down syndrome starts to show its head now as more is expected of him. When Chase was eight months, he was showing the fine motor skills of a seven month old - not bad! But now that he is twelve months, he is at the fine motor skills level of an eight month old. Yes, that gap is definitely starting to appear. The therapist guesses that Chase's gross motor skills would be at about the same level because Chase is not yet crawling.

As hard as it is to start to see Chase lag behind, it does have the positive effect of forcing us to rededicate ourselves to working Chase out more at home. And no matter what, Chase's joyful, sunny, happy personality is so wonderful and keeps us from getting down about any numbers that might be produced by any therapist or evaluator!

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