Melody is making remarkable progress with her army crawling. At the time of the last post she was cruising along at about 20 yards a day. She has subsequently made it to 30…then 40… and recently 50 yards in one day! That, my friends, is half a football field. That would be a significant undertaking for anyone to army crawl half a football field (in high altitude no less), but especially for one as little as her. I am sure her military fans can appreciate the strength required to do this. 😊
As for Melody’s intellectual progress, she never ceases to amaze us. When she was born we were told she would be “mentally retarded”. I remember asking a nurse if that was a certain outcome or if it were possible that she might not be. She was a little sheepish in responding that she definitely would be.
There is an inclination for most of us to assume a non-verbal child is a less intelligent child. It does a substantial disservice to our little non-verbal children. Their potential can tragically be overlooked.
Glenn Doman, in his book The Pathway to Wellness, notes that, “There is no relationship between brain injury and intelligence.” He goes on to say, “There is a significant relationship between brain injury and the ability to express intelligence.” His insight clarifies a crucial distinction. Anyone who has had a stroke understands this principle.
Children with an extra chromosome have the capacity to be quite intelligent given the opportunity to develop it. As Glenn Doman is infamous for teaching, “The brain grows by use.” Trisomy children typically do not have injury to the cortex of the brain, which is a great advantage as far as their intellect goes. Instead, they typically have injury in the mid-brain, which affects balance and speech. Thus, sadly there is often a presumption that they lack intelligence.
We do not test Melody often. Glenn Doman wisely discourages that, as he notes that knowledge is a gift and should be given as such. Testing brings about stress and makes learning less joyful. Thus, we limit it.
However, we have asked Melody some questions lately. We have three aspects of her learning: knowledge, reading, and math. For her knowledge cards we rapidly flash types of butterflies, instruments, flowers, etc. Melody’s sister was teaching Melody her states one day. She taught her 10 states rapidly for two days in a row. She showed Melody each state and quickly told her the name. She noted the state in which we live. On the third day she did not review the states. She held up two states and asked Melody, “Which state do we live in?” Melody picked the correct answer.
One day Melody’s sister held up two sentences for Melody. She asked her which one says, “The Lord is my refuge.” Melody picked the right one. Four times we have tested her on various sentences. Four times she has picked the right answer. She has never picked the wrong answer for reading.
If we ask Melody whether she wants to do math or something else (learning cards, reading, etc.) she will pick math 100 percent of the time. We teach her with the Doman method in which we use cards with large red dots rather than numerals (which are abstract), so she can understand the concept of the numbers and fluidly move into adding, etc.
One day Melody’s sister asked Melody what is 48 (holding up 48 dots) plus 9 (holding up 9 dots). Her sister held up two possible options for the answer. Melody had not seen that particular problem until that day. Melody looked at one answer, then the other, back and forth a couple of times. She then picked the right answer. She flashed the most adorable little smile. She knew she was right. The answer to the next question was 27. Melody did not even look at the wrong answer. She picked 27 right away. We have tested her four times, and four times she has been right. She has never picked the wrong answer for her addition.
According to Glenn Doman you can teach a tiny child anything, including reading. The key is that the words must be sufficient size for the child to process, as their visual pathways are not developed enough when they are babies and toddlers to read small print. Therefore, we have used words that are larger than an average book to teach Melody reading. Even though her visual pathways are likely well developed now from all the reading she has done we still make her her own books. We have words on one page and a picture on the next. We often use Scripture as the content. She loves her homemade books! She appears to follow along and read it herself.
We realized we were holding Melody back by reading simple books to her. We have quite a few books that are about people in history. The book above that her brother is reading to her is about Francis Scott Key and is about 50 pages. She loves those types of books. She will happily read them in one sitting.
One book we read to her still that is more for younger children is Puppies for Sale. This is her favorite book and has been for quite some time. If you read the book you will understand why. It is read on YouTube here. She obviously identifies with the little boy in this book and she loves the priceless message. It is so sweet! She clearly understands.
We think nutrition is of utmost important for Melody. She eats an abundance of greens from our garden – kale, chard, endive, lettuce, and spinach. We mix it in a blender with fruit each morning for her. She loves it!
Melody’s verbal skills are improving. She used to be a vowel girl. Now she is adding in some consonants. She uses the “y” sound quite a bit. She has been saying “da da” frequently. Lately “da da” has actually turned into “Daddy” more than once!
Derive what you will from all that. 😊 We think she is one intelligent little girl. We could not be any more proud of her!
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”