I’ve provided this information to give parents an idea of some of the things we did
that I believed helped John. I want parents to understand that we as well as
John enjoyed everything we did. Many of the things we did just fit in with daily
life. Time was not set aside, it just fit in from time to time. Teaching him to read and count at such a young age thrilled
John. He loved his word and picture cards more than any extravagant toy he ever
John’s Program age 0 – 4 years
I believe breastfeeding played a crucial role in John's development. Besides the
perfect nutrients for health, growth, and brain function, I believe the hours John was at the breast helped him to develop
a good airway for nose breathing. Function determines structure. I believe the breastfeeding also attributed to good structure
and strength in the mouth.
We did massage during diaper changes, stimulating the sense of touch. Head to
toe to fingertips.
We played his mobile almost non-stop when he was in his crib. This encouraged
John to track with his eyes, stimulating the sense of sight and hearing.
I put different scents on my fingers: mustard, perfumes, absorbine, etc and gave
him the opportunity to smell, stimulating John's sense of smell.
We sang to John, talked to John, and when he began cooing and babbling we imitated
him. We played music, including classical. We bicycled his legs to work those muscles, and we tempted him to reach for toys
to get his arms working. We also put his feet in his hands, teaching him where they were.
We gave him lots of tummy time to try to strengthen his head control. He had none
at this point. We also began vitamins at 4 months.
This is when we found organizations such as: NACD, the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, and learned of their belief in each child's potential
instead of focusing on the diagnosis of DS. I ordered these books which helped me put together a program to follow.
"How to Teach Your Baby to be Physically Superb" - Glenn Doman
"How to Multiply Your Baby's Intelligence" - Glenn Doman
"Children of Dreams, Children of Hope" - Raymundo Veras
John was tracking his mobile and us by 4 weeks.
John's first laugh was at 7 weeks
and he was laughing consistently in response to us at 10 weeks
Still doing all of the 1-4 month exercises; adding the stimulation of sense of
taste; put different juices on my finger to his tongue.
I decided early on with John that our goal would be to follow a typical developmental
chart. I did common sense type exercises to teach him the things that the charts said were appropriate at each age. John succeeded,
sometimes at the end of the time frame, sometimes earlier than typical. I believe there are windows of opportunity in all
kids, which make this important. I at least wanted John to feel these things even if it was just my putting him through the
motions. The fact that he accomplished them made it even better.
We held John in a sitting position a lot, trying to strengthen the upper body.
John established head control around 5 months. We kept showing him how to turn over. Be careful not to let the child use turning
I encouraged John to play with many toys to encourage grasp. I read to him and
encouraged him to turn the pages.
After John accomplished head control, we did lots of sit-ups. John would be lying
flat, and I held his hands and pulled him to sit. Our physical therapist (PT) said to pull John up sort of to the side so
that we would encourage muscle strengthening not only in the center of the tummy, but on the sides as well. We would lean
him to the right, have him sit up, then to the left. I did 5 repetitions each way in the beginning and worked up to ten. Eventually
John gained enough strength that all I had to do was support his hips, roll them to the right or left and he could bring himself
to a sit.
Before long, John was able to maintain a sitting position. We would give him every
opportunity and count seconds. By 7 ½ months he was sitting for 1 minute. I would like to caution parents not to leave children
sitting unattended. If they find that they can gain motion by scooting on their bottoms, the crawl or walk will be harder
We began teaching bye-bye, peek-a-boo, and pat-a-cake. At 8 months we heard Da
Da, and Bubba. We repeated this to him often.
We began teaching commando crawl. We put bricks under one end of the dining room
table to create an incline. I put my hands over his, to encourage him to pull. The table running downhill made it easier for
him. When he discovered he could produce movement he began to work really hard. Before long he didn't need my help. He would
crawl on the floor for temptations such as a favorite toy or a mirror.
Drank from a cup at 5 months.
Turned to back at 5 ¾ months.
Held cup to drink at 6 ½ months.
Grabbing his feet at 6 ½ months.
Sits for one minute at 7 ½ months.
Turns from his back to his tummy at 7 ¾ months.
Says Da Da, Bubba, and Mama at 8 mo.
We began pulling John from his back, to a sit, to a stand. He began taking steps
with assistance at 9 months.
John was pulling himself up to the coffee table at 10 months and walking the length.
We spent lots of time playing here with blocks, cars, cheerios, and raisins. The cheerios and raisins encouraged pincer grasp.
We practiced walking with him as much as possible. Much of the time I bent over
to hold John at the waist to encourage him to strengthen the upper body. Holding the hands allows them to lean. John and I
fed horses twice a day and I encouraged him to walk the 120 feet to feed the calves and play. Then I encouraged him to walk
another 300 feet to the barn to feed the horses. Once we had fed, he walked back to the house. I alternated between holding
his hands and then his hips. Holding him at the hips made it harder work for
him, encouraging more strength in the upper body. While holding his hands he
was free to hang there, so walking was easier for him.
We also began horseback riding at this time. We live on a farm and have pleasure
horses. The thought is that riding a horse stimulates the same nerves as walking. Also, we encouraged speech and sounds while
John was riding, making specific cues to the horse to go and stop.
Takes steps with assistance, with bent knees at 9 months.
Plays peek-a-boo and pat a cake at 9 months.
Commando crawls at 9 months.
Waves bye-bye, complete with bending fingers at 9 ½ months.
Pulls himself up to the coffee table and walks length at 10 months.
John began standing alone at the end of 12 months. We practiced often trying to
balance him, then let go and counted seconds. I blew bubbles with chewing gum which worked well to keep his attention. By
the end of the 13th month, John took his first step.
After John was competent at standing and taking a few steps, we would work and
work at getting more steps. We put temptations out in front of him that he could walk to. We'd count steps and get so excited.
When John would walk to his "temptation," I'd hold him at the hips to steady him, and he'd bend over to pick up the "prize,"
and come back up. This was great strengthening for his upper body.
Once John was walking well on smooth surface, we did a lot of walking outside
on rougher ground to give him better balance and a stronger step. We also walked up hills to improve strength, and downhill
to encourage speed, and to begin running. We also began exercising on stairs to build strength in John's legs.
We began using photos to encourage appropriate speech. John's utterances were
babababa, dada, mama, dudu, ba, and beebee. I used photos of John's brother for Bubba, his dad for dada, myself for mama,
a duck for dudu, John in the bath for ba, and a baby for beebee. I covered these photos with clear contact paper, and put
them in a box for John to play with. I presented the pictures to him at least 4 times a day and repeated their names. By 20
months John appropriately could identify 10 pictures. We just kept adding more and more as John was successful. Flash cards
bought from the store would not have done the same for John. He loves his photos. The contact paper made them safe and durable.
Stood alone at the end of the 12th month.
Took his first step at the end of the 13th month.
Said "hi" while waving at 14 months.
Walking well everywhere at 16 months.
Saying dad, bubba, ma, and woof-woof at 16 months.
Saying horse and hat at 17 months.
We added many more picture cards to introduce John to as many new words as we
We started doing eye exercises, having John focus on an object, and moving it
back and forth, then sideways. This was to encourage his eyes to work together and strengthen the muscles.
We encouraged John to blow bubbles, play toy instruments and use toys requiring
We began saying the alphabet face to face with John, adding the letter sound and
a word. This taught him the alphabet and sound, as well as let him focus on my mouth and learn how to form sounds. I did this
at diaper changes.
We began playing classical music as he went to sleep at night and I taped my voice
with it saying the alphabet, counting, and saying John's full name. I just added any information I wanted John to learn.
I personally felt sign was not a good idea for John. I know he is very, very smart and would learn sign well. I felt
he should spend his time working on speech. Speech is very hard for him and if he could rely on sign it would take motivation
away. This is what works for us. John is improving in speech rapidly.
We began to encourage dressing and feeding himself at 20 months. John at this
time was insisting that he feed himself. He very shortly began spending a lot of time changing his clothes.
We began working on potty training at 20 months. John quickly picked up the concept
and would comply each time we pulled his diaper down to "pee pee." We found he needed to be given the opportunity every 15
minutes to stay dry. This got old, and some days I worked at it, other days I let it go. Sometimes we gave him a break for
a couple of weeks, then we'd try again.
Knows concept of potty training at 20 months.
Can partially dress himself (shirt, pants, and socks) at 20 months.
Can feed himself at 20 months.
Can open a jar at 20 months.
Can blow bubbles and use blow toys at 20 months.
We began teaching John to read at 2 1/2 years. We began with high interest words
for him such as mom, dad, bubba, and papa. I put them on a small poster board (7x11) and I taped pictures on the back so John
could turn it over and see that he was right. I introduced him to 3 new words a week. Each time I presented the words, I showed
them and said them 3 times. I did this 4 times a day. By 3 years of age, John knew 40 words and retained them all. Reading
has been so beneficial to speech. Since John understands the alphabet and sounds, he sounds out the words he sees. For instance,
he always called his dog, Sam, "Mam." Once he saw it written he began practicing articulating it correctly. He still to this
day improves articulation of a word once he sees it.
When John and I are playing, I make an effort to speak in 2, 3, and 4 word phrases
using many of the same ones over and over. Then, I encourage John to say these,
such as, "I need help. I want help. I want ball." The more capable he gets with phrases, the easier speech gets for him.
I entered John in a typical preschool. He’s getting good interaction with
other children and he’s learning to follow rules.
At the end of John's 2nd year, he had been dry at night for weeks.
He could stay dry when we were away from home, but at home he would wet his pants. I decided to leave him in just briefs at
home so when he wet it would run down his legs. He hated that and it was the end of any accidents. He has been dry day and
night since before he turned 3. One of my biggest mistakes during his potty training was thinking that if I let him sit in
a wet diaper he'd improve. It was better to try to keep him dry so he'd appreciate that feeling and not want to be wet. Pampers
are a huge waste because they keep them so dry. I needed to EXPECT him to learn, BELIEVE in him, and LEARN the technique which
would work. Many experts agree that letting them run in briefs or bare from the waist down works because the child hates for
the urine to run down his/her leg.
Reading at 2 ½
Potty trained day and night before age 3
Speaking in 2 word phrases before age 3
We began teaching the alphabet, upper and lower case. I found puzzles we could play with to do this. I spent a lot
of time just telling him each letter, not in order, with no output from him. Finally, after 4 months I realized he knew almost
all of them. It seems John doesn't take part until he has confidence that he knows it. Once he gains confidence, he loves
We also began working on numbers 1-10. By the time he was 3 ½, he knew his alphabet,
upper and lower case, and his numbers counting to 10.
We began teaching him to write. The letters "i" and "t" were his first letters
I began making books for John with words he knew. Reading sentences was really
good for him. I used the 7x11 poster board cut in half. I would write a short phrase on page 1, such as "I am John." Page
2 would be a picture of John. Page 3 might be, "I love dad." Page 4 would have a picture of dad, etc. I punched 2 holes on the left of the cards and attached them with yarn.
John began swimming with water wings this summer. He put his face under water,
blew bubbles, and kicked his feet.
We are also trying to jump on beds and a trampoline. So far he has gained no clearance.
Knew the alphabet upper and lower case at 3 ½.
Knew numbers 1-10, and counted to 10 at 3 ½.
Wrote letters "i" and "t" at 3 1/2 .
Read sentences and simple books at 3 ½.
Swam with water wings at 3 ½.
John is sight reading at a first grade, nine-month level.
He is using 4-word phrases consistently.
When we do the alphabet, John can give a word for each letter.
John began writing his name at 4 years, 2 months. He can also write all of the
letters of the alphabet. He is able to write and spell many words.
To teach quantity, I have written a number on a lap chalkboard and had John count
pennies to equal the number. His math skills are at a Kindergarten, nine-month level.
John is jumping well.
John loves his life, and is a happy, confident, self-assured 4-year-old. He loves
school and his classmates and teachers love him. The kids tend to be his best motivators. He has read for the class and he
takes great pride in this skill that only he can do. While John loves reading and picture cards, he also loves the outdoors,
the dogs, the horses, and the livestock. He thoroughly loves helping us feed the animals and will attempt carrying full bales
of hay. He KNOWS there is nothing he can't do if he puts his mind to it. In May, John graduated from a public pre-school.
He has been accepted to start kindergarten with his peers at the public school in our area.