Fact — “Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.” (NDSS.org). Let’s focus on the second part of this statement for a second, specifically the term “development.” Hopefully by now I’ve demonstrated to many of you that people with Down syndrome can do anything they put their minds to, just like people who don’t have Down syndrome.
But sometimes it takes our kiddos a little longer to achieve certain developmental milestones that many of us take for granted. For example, I took my first steps when I was around 10 months old. Everett took his first steps when he was closer to 20 months old. A lot of his “delayed” milestones are due to hypotonia which is a characteristic of DS where kiddos have floppier muscles. It affects everything from walking to swallowing and eventually forming words and speaking. I remember in the early days a lot of people would ask me things like “Is he walking yet?” or “Is he eating finger foods yet?” While I think these questions are just part of the deal when you become a parent, it was always a reminder to me that my kid was probably behind the others. I feared and loathed these questions.
Thus, I’m addressing a warranted fear with this post. But here is the good news if you’re a new parent of a child with DS and you’re reading this entry: 1) After about a year, people stop asking these questions. I found this to be the case with both of my kids. It’s very liberating. 2) Your child will eventually do whatever the next milestone is that everyone is asking about, and then you will wish your child would SLOW down! I couldn’t wait for Everett to walk. And now he runs away from me . Here is a cute video of him at his second birthday party…still a little rusty on the walking!