Friday, October 08, 2010

The Small Things

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.
--Emily Dickinson

We tend to applaud our typical children for the major milestones they meet--learning to walk, ride trike, go through a couple of hours without fighting, etc.

But when we have children with disabilities, many days and months may go by without apparent advancements. That's why it becomes so important to notice the little things and to applaud every achievement you see.

As I held Wade on my lap every day and did 30 minutes of Starfall, I could see tiny responses that encouraged me to believe that he was taking in the information and processing it even though he had no words to tell me so. One day it would be the slight huh, huh, huh sound he made when the letter H page was up. Another day I could see that he was imitating the motions for the ABC song.

And then one day, when we were going through the pages for the letter G, Wade signed "girl". But the word girl hadn't appeared on the screen yet. And I realized that he was not only learning what was presented at the moment, but that he also knew what was coming next!

As I noticed each small confirmation from him, I was able to use that knowledge to cheer him on and give him confidence in his success, so that he would be encouraged to build toward future accomplishments.

When I first read some books on the development of fine and gross motor skills, I was overwhelmed with the enormity of breaking down each typical action into the small components that work together to bring about movement. Many of those tiny areas of development I had never noticed with our other two boys. Yes, I knew that they went from being able to hold an object for only a few seconds to being able to purposefully pick it up, hold it, shake it, and drop it, but I didn't observe the little changes that make those new abilities possible.

I'm still amazed at what I don't see that our outstanding therapists point out to me, but I'm getting better at paying attention to detail and knowing what kind of details to look for.

And it's so wonderful now to look back through those books and realize that Wade has reached most of the goals in them. That knowledge helps me to relax for the future and gives me confidence that teaching him isn't difficult or overwhelming. It just takes time, attention, and consistency.

So the tip for today is to notice and celebrate the small things...because in the end, they are the foundation of the big things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Karen, I love reading your posts about Wade. If you aren't already planning to publish a book, I think you should!!! (I am serious!)