Monday, April 20, 2009

A Model Child

This is the second post in a short series about Whitney's little brother Liam and how our adventures have made his life unique. In part one, I mentioned how the little guy has had to adjust to a double standard in our house regarding speech. He still doesn't understand why we require him to speak as well as sign. Big sister only has to sign. But he's a good sport and he's improving in both areas.

Liam's life will be different than his little friends around the neighborhood because of his relationship with Whitney. It'll be challenging at times but I prefer to think of his life as richer than others for the experiences he'll have. One day I hope he'll agree with me on that.

But we're not leaving his feelings on the matter to fate. Melanie has done some research into a great preschool opportunity for Liam. Each early intervention class here in Utah has a couple of developmentally typical children who act as models for the special needs children. The children in the special needs programs all interact, play and have the same lessons together each day. And Liam can be a part of the program earlier than he would qualify for other preschools in our area. We're thinking of starting him out this coming fall, in fact.

The cost of the program is cheap too, $20 a month. He'll be able to continue learning his sign and he'll get more opportunities to be around special children and learn to better relate to them. And did I mention class sizes are small as well?

If it sounds like I'm endorsing this program, that's because I am. If you have a preschool age child who is inline with his or her developmental milestones, why not let him or her be an example for other children? I suspect a program near you has an opening and the rewards for your child will be great.

We're very excited to get Liam started in the program and I promise to report back on how he's doing. I'll also be excited to share how his relationship with his older sister will grow.


Stacy said...

That's really, really freat to know- thanks! Max is involved with EI right now because of some health and development issues, but we don't know for sure for how long. Good to know what options are out there as he gets older.

ggsmama said...

I found your blog today and I hope it is okay if I listen in. My husband and I are raising twin daughters and one has a chromosome translocation that is causing her significant delays. The girls are also starting a pre-preschool program this summer here in Dnever where 50% of the kids are typically developing and 50% are special needs. We are very excited for them both to start. I look forward to reading more of your experiences, if that is alright, as we have no friends currently with a special needs child. I know we will meet many other parents through the school.
Best, Betsey

Nate said...

Welcome Betsey! My family is glad to have you along in our adventures. I hope all is well with your family. Special needs preschools are a terrific resource and I'm sure you're daughters will have great experience.

Feel free to chime in about your own experiences in the comments whenever you'd like. There are actually quite a few families with special needs children who stop by and contribute to the conversations.

Have a great day!

Ferg said...

We have the same sort of reverse mainstream program here. There is a waiting list for "typical peers" and they can only get in if the spot isn't taken my a special needs student. I looked into it for Ellie when she started preschool. I actually decided against it because she needed something more academic. I figured she got enough of the "special needs" exposure here at home. Ellie is also having a hard time understanding the double standards. As much as I try to be even with my expectations I know that it isn't all that realistic... especially now that Ellie is getting older (just turned 6). As smart as Ellie is she is just now starting to understand that her sister is different. Sometimes she'll say things like "I know, I know... it is because Mollie is missing a chromosome... or whatever that word is". LOL She knows how to explain Mollie's disability but I don't think she fully understands it. They say siblings don't usually understand until about age 7. The other day she was asking some questions. It is hard to answer her questions in simple terms while still being respectful of Mollie. I finally just told Ellie that sometimes when someone is missing a chromosome or has to many their brains don't grow like they should and even though a person looks like a grown up on the outside they still have a brain like a baby on the inside. It was like a light bulb went on in Ellie's head. She said "Oh.... so Mollie has a baby brain... and that is why she talks like that and has fits." I'll leave it at that for now... but something tells me that as soon as she informs Mollie that she has a baby brain Mollie will show her a grown up fist :)

Nate said...

I love it! You always make me laugh with stories of your girls. I hope Ellie doesn't get punched too hard. Your explanation sounds perfect for the 6 year old mind. Luckily we haven't had to explain much to Liam yet. But the day will come. He does, however, already get the occasional punch from his sister. Gotta love siblings.

samandjimblock said...

Hi! I was referred to your blog by a fellow special needs mama. I have a son who is 4, a son who is 2with 22q11.2 deletion, and I am pregnant with our third son (who by ultrasound appears 'normal') I was talking on a chat room about how I"m not sure how I"m going to approach things as my youngest son begins to surpass his older brother. I'm finding your blogging in that respect helpful!

Nate said...

Hi Sam,

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad posts about Liam and Whitney's relationship are helpful. I'll make sure to make them as regular as I can. It's certainly an interesting dynamic. So many unusual things happen when your younger child is more advanced. I hope all continues to go well with your family and your pregnancy.

Thanks for stopping by!