As I was back at work part-time, my husband was left with this responsibility. He would:
- spend his days reading and reading and reading to her...and looking at pictures in books and talking about them to her. Books, books and more books.
- sing nursery rhymes and action songs to her.
- encourage Jess to crawl, climb and then to walk.
- talk to her and play with her.
- use Makaton sign language with her.
- expose her to lots of bright colours, different sounds, different textures.
- let her watch the kids' educational tv shows as well.
Days were spent inputting into her brain.
Jess's first word was 'hi'.
She walked alone at 19 months.
Jess held a cup and drank by herself at 2 1/2 years. She also ran at 2 1/2.
We would tickle her with different types of textures and rub her, helping her with her sensory processing. We would massage her.
At the ECDU they would provide different types of textures for Jess to play with - she hated gooey things and had to be forced to touch them.
We also put her on a vitamin supplement which I had read was good for brain development and immunity.
We did not give up on Jess. We took her everywhere, exposing her to all sorts of sights and sensations.
If there were too many sights and sensations Jess would shut down. We particularly saw this at the beach when she 3-4 years. The sand, wind, waves all were too much for her body to process. The first year she fell asleep, the second year I had to cover her up with the towel.
We noticed as Jess was getting older she would obsess over one skill, and do it over and over and over and over and over again.... She would over-learn it. This was her learning style. This over-learning would go on for a long time in one session. For example she would put pegs in a container, tip them out and then put them back in (for like 50 times)......opening and shutting a door....up and down stairs....
Another behaviour that emerged was a comfort behaviour. She would drive a truck/car over a bump over and over again. This was seen particularly when change occurred at home e.g. Melissa and Mum were in the hospital, Mum went away to Ladies Camp for the weekend.
Another behaviour which was difficult to handle, was running off. We had a few scary episodes when we lost her in the shops after she silently and quickly disappeared. In the end we tried strapping her in the pram until she started tipping the pram over, then a harness which worked sometimes unless she became stubborn and sat and screamed refusing to move, then putting her in the trolley. It was too hard to take her unless contained as she would run off...and of course she could not say her name so this was an added worry. We would also pin our phone number to her top when we went out to a park.
She also had no sense of danger e.g. strangers, physical etc. so we worried a lot about keeping her safe.
By the age of 4 years, Jessica was toilet trained. She was speaking in 1, 2 or 3 word groups and had said her first sentence which was 'How are you baby?' (Said at 3 1/2 years. She was talking to the baby in the sun on Teletubbies).
Jess was becoming very good at using her Makaton but we noticed that as the words came, she dropped the Makaton.
I was taking her to swimming lessons and she was in the mum/bub class. She loved the lessons.
We kept being told by professionals that she was doing very well and was high-functioning.
© 2012 by Jenny Woolsey
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