Monday, November 13, 2006

The Stairs

If my wife and I had known we were going to raise a disabled child we would have made some different decisions when we built our house. One of those decisions would have been to choose a rambler floor plan instead of the two story home that we built. The bedrooms are upstairs and the main living is on the ground floor. This has presented some challenges for my daughter who is still working on negotiating the stairs. But she's making progress on that front.

My wife makes our little one crawl down the stairs every time she gets up in the morning or from a nap. My wife helps her back up to the stairs, let one leg down and then gradually shift her weight to the next stair down. This process then repeats 12 more times before she arrives on the main floor. It's pretty slow and for months my daughter has needed all kinds of help and encouragement.

Over the last few weeks our little girl has started getting up the courage and ability to do it on her own. She's really had the strength to do it by herself for a while, but now she knows she can do it alone. So she does. It still takes a while, but with a couple times' practice every day she's getting a little faster. It helps when my wife puts on a Signing Time DVD downstairs and my daughter can hear it playing. That's worked as a great motivator.

Now that my daughter can go down on her own, it's given her courage to start experimenting with climbing up. The other day my wife and I were both upstairs working on something and my daughter got bored of her toys and decided to come looking for us. I actually found her a couple of steps up from the bottom. Considering how small she is, it took some serious determination to get there. Determination and lots of repetition seem to be keys for getting my daughter to accomplish new things. It's so exciting to see her getting around better.

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