We are beyond thrilled Lucas is finding his voice. Every time I hear his sweet, soft voice, my heart sings. According to Libby Kumin (renowned speech pathologist and expert on speech development in kids with DS), like most children, kids with Down syndrome usually develop receptive language (understanding) much sooner than expressive language (saying) skills. I still remember my early research on the topic and the first time I read kids with DS often don't acquire 3-word phrases until kindergarten age, or sometimes older. I freaked out.
I immediately called my dear friend, Kerra, whose now 4-year-old daughter Krysta spoke in 2-3 word phrases at two. Kerra assured me not all kids with DS speak at a much later time, and as a result, we promised ourselves we'd do everything possible to give Lucas the tools he'd need to communicate with us as soon as he was willing and able to. We enrolled him in weekly private speech therapy, in addition to two 30-minute speech sessions provided at school. We've worked with him at home, carrying over the strategies taught to us by his loving and dedicated therapists -- Angelique, Mariel, and Colleen.
This past week, Lucas' speech has been blossoming...his favorite word now is "no" -- sometimes said softly, coyly, and other times said with great passion and decisiveness. His therapist Mariel taught him to say "I" and sign "want" which he picked up immediately, and is using nearly every moment of every day to get his way. We're now arguing because the boy knows what he wants, when he wants it. I will post video soon so you can see for yourself.
I wish I knew then what I know now...that, my friends, I'm certain will become my anthem on this unexpected journey.