We've had a very exciting couple of months since my last entry (at 34 months) since Lucas has accomplished some key educational milestones. He now knows all his (primary) colors...black, white, brown, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, and even pink. Another pretty amazing thing happened right around his birthday...I bought him foam bath letters and decided to ask him to name letters in the bath in random order...the kid knows ALL the letters (and with good articulation too)! We've been using Starfall with him since he was an infant and it's obviously paid off. He also likes singing the alphabet song, although he does that in chunks (a,b,c,d,e..... n,o,p,q,r....w,x,y,z). We're capitalizing on his interest in letters and books so we've started more sight reading and that's coming along too...he probably knows about a dozen sight words. He is expanding his vocabulary and starting to use more 2-word phrases such as "open door" and "let's go" and "puppy Roscoe" and my favorite..."thank you" (what a polite child!); he's also starting to say "U-cas" (Lucas). The other big deal is he can count to 10 -- we're working more on getting him to count "things" so the numbers have real meaning.
At the Debbie School, they conduct the Battelle Developmental Inventory right before kids turn 3 (it's a Miami-Dade County requirement) and we received Lucas' scores...we are thrilled he is performing "within normal limits" in all areas of development (on the lower side on a couple, but he's above average in the "social-emotional" area -- not a big surprise there). The sad, double-edged truth of the matter is that when his godmother (who happens to be a developmental specialist) saw his scores, the first thing she told me was "he'll never qualify for services with these scores." It still amazes and confounds me that this can be true when a child has a qualifying medical condition -- and although performing exceptionally well for a child with a disability -- is still NOT performing on par with his typically developing peers. Whatyagonnado? Fight the power! Okay, off my soap box.
Lucas is blowing bubbles, whistles, and even a recorder (you know, the "instrument" we played in elementary school)...he blew out his birthday candles this year which was very exciting! He is wearing his glasses now most of the time -- he takes them off and puts them back on...I guess he's finally started to see the light (and everything else)! What isn't so exciting is that Lucas is getting more stubborn and more theatrical...he's not as easy going as he use to be and now often wants to do things when HE wants to do them, not when he's told. He loves telling us "no!" He's enjoying taking showers (with Daddy usually) and even washing himself including his hair (with help). He's also enjoying more pretend play.
Lucas is one of the most social/friendly kids you'll ever meet...which is characteristic of kids with Down syndrome (although I hate generalizing and labeling since each child is different and unique, I can't ignore this attribute which seems fairly consistent with kids I've met -- I happen to think it's a fabulous trait when properly channeled). He makes friends -- both adults and kids -- wherever he goes. Since he's the only child in our home (his big sister is 17), one of the best outcomes of school is Lucas is learning to defend himself and he can fearlessly insert himself in the middle of a play situation, even with older kids. Whether brave or crazy...it works for him!
In the fine motor skills area, we're working more with playdoh and finger paints. We've established Lucas is a righty (sorry to my left-handed husband). He can copy a straight (although short) horizontal or vertical line. He eats with both a spoon and fork (although he's really messy and still likes to use his free hand for help). Lucas is learning to use a scissor (the kind that closes on its own) and is experimenting with glue (watch out!). He still needs to be reminded what surfaces he can color on (at least he got "not the wall!"). We're starting to do more simple craft projects with him.
As for gross motor skills, his physical therapist has Lucas working on navigating an obstacle course, alternating legs going up and down stairs, and riding a tricycle. He's still working on jumping -- and we still need to pick up a trampoline to help with that (they're pricey!). He can catch and throw a large ball...we're working on smaller balls now. He's kicking both big and small balls about 5-7 feet. He's enjoying the playground more and can go up a ladder to get to a big slide and goes down by himself -- this is big for Lucas who can sometimes be overly cautious.
His favorite things to do now are "reading" books -- in fact, his teacher just told me Lucas conducts reading circles at school where he pretends to read a book while other kids listen in; he also likes surfing on the computer (not quite), playing with Roscoe and the kitties, bowling, and, of course, Signing Time AKA "Rachel" -- I tell you, the kid is obsessed, but he's learned so much -- we limit his viewing time to about an hour a day (2 episodes).
We're still a no-go on the potty training...which I vow to tackle before Christmas!
All in all, we're so proud of all the milestones Lucas has reached this past year and look forward to more steady progress and more good times ahead!