Melody’s Travel Adventures, Sweet Friends, and Monkey Bars

Our daughter Andrea qualified for the National Bible Bee over the summer.  The National competition took place in Kentucky this November.  We had the opportunity to travel there for this wonderful event.

On the way, we met Lilliana Dennis and her family.  Lilliana is the first child with Trisomy 18 we have ever met in person.  This was a precious time! Melody loved Lilliana’s saucer..and her new friend. Lilliana appears to have some serious things to share with her happy-go-lucky little friend.

Lilliana’s family had some clothes that Lilliana had out-grown.  They were gracious in sharing those with little Melody.

We had a wonderful time at the Bible Bee.  Melody did amazingly well on this trip. I think she remembered her friend Steve from last year.  She was excited when she saw him, which was really sweet.

Melody had quite a few friends and fans at Bible Bee.  While we were at the Ark Encounter, we pulled Melody in her wagon.  One of the little girls pictured above kept inquiring about the “baby in the basket” and was excited to meet her. 😀 Melody had so much fun with these sweet children.  She reached out to hug the little boy. I think he was honored.

Melody is growing up and getting stronger.  We have been impressed with her progress lately. Melody has been doing myofacial release consistently, and we are seeing remarkable changes in her since doing that.

From the time Melody came home from the hospital shortly after birth we did the Doman approach to learning and development with her (with the guidance of a neurodevelopmentalist).  We are blessed to see some of the fruits of it now. Thanks to my friend Emily sharing some learning cards, Melody’s repertoire of cards has expanded extensively.

One day a young lady Joshlyn, who helps with Melody, was teaching her types of dogs.  I walked passed them and heard Joshlyn ask Melody which dog was a German Shepherd.  Melody pointed to the right one.  I asked Joshlyn if Melody has gotten that right before.  Her response was, “She just did it four times in a row.” She does not get her learning cards right one hundred percent of the time, but she is clearly learning.

Melody loves her math dots!  We have moved from teaching her just numbers to adding the numbers together.  Usually when we set the dots down after the dot session, Melody reaches out for them and clearly communicates she wants more.  We have never tested to see how much addition she knows, but her response appears to indicate a love for learning. That is an excellent sign.  

Normally she just reaches out with her hands for them, but in this case she was so eager she dove for them. 🙂

It is easy to presume that a child who is non-verbal is less intelligent, but it certainly does not serve these little ones well. Melody clearly has so much potential. You can read an incredibly inspiring story about a girl with Trisomy 21 whose parents implemented the Doman principles here:

One of the key components of Doman is monkey bars, which are apparently quite beneficial for the brain.  Melody’s Daddy built the playground pictured above for Melody.  She uses the lower bars to practice her walking.  We have been amazed at how well she has done with that even from her first try.  She uses the monkey bars to establish some patterns in her brain, build strength, help balance, etc.  We are seeing incredible progress in several areas of development since starting her monkey bars.

We hope you have a blessed 2020!

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”

-Psalm 119:105

Comments 12

  1. Dear Family,
    What a beautiful way to start the New Year!! As always, Melody’s progress is always so inspiring and her interaction with family and therapists a joy to watch. God has been so faithful in providing just the perfect therapy at just the right time. To God be all the glory and honor and praise!!!
    Love, Oma & Opa

  2. Does not cease to amaze!
    Blessings abound.. such a wonderful
    testimony of Our Fathers love.
    May your 2020 surpass all your expectations!
    Hugs and love to all,

  3. You are an amazing family with so much vision. You teach me about being very creative in learning and in searching for the right fit. God knew just where Melody would thrive and grow. Happy New Year!

  4. As others have mentioned, reading about Melody’s “story” is inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for taking the time to share both in words and pictures how God continues to work in and through her, demonstrating the He has a purpose for every life and with whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in. May His strength, love, joy and peace continue to flow through your family in 2020!! Love and prayers

  5. I love the monkey bars! I used some Doman principles with Elijah as a baby— so good. The pictures with Lilliana are so precious!!!!

  6. I just about lost it when I saw the picture of Melody and Lilliana in the saucer…tears of joy! What a precious moment! Praising God for Melody’s progress! Peace and blessings to you all in the New Year!

  7. How blessed we all are to witness Melody’s incredible strides! If others follow your methods of various interventions over time, they are sure to see positive results as well – some of which may not be known until later. Love the new equipment for walking and balance, made by loving hands. Thanks for this beautiful update.

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