Maria Mackeigan writes our blog this week about her daughter, Jordan Grace. Find her at @321_blessed_mom
Our diagnosis story isn’t the most positive one. I wish it was. The doctor pushed us to abort twice after telling us that our baby would never be able to dress or feed herself. He said she would be a burden to us and to society and would more than likely end up in and institution.
I never knew anyone with Down syndrome so I believed him, after all he was the genetics doctor, he would know! So I thought. We wanted this baby so badly and had prayed and tried for so long.
I went through a grieving process, it was a very dark time…I cried a lot and asked God “why me?” I didn’t think it was fair.
As time went on I began to feel peace in my heart. We loved this baby with all our heart and couldn’t wait to meet her.
Jordan Grace surprised us on a beautiful sunny day in February. Seconds after she was born she was placed on my chest and when she looked up at me, I felt our instant mother daughter connection and I knew then that God didn’t make a mistake. I would do anything for my baby girl.
Having a Master’s in elementary education has prepared me for motherhood. Since the beginning I knew I was my kids’ first and most important teacher. Studies show that kids learn the most in their young age. After all they are learning to walk, talk, eat, etc…
I also knew that I would teach Jordan Grace to read the same way I taught Ana María. I’ve been so blessed to be home with my girls, we’ve been able to discover and learn together.
Reading and writing are some of the most important skills. I have used a lot of resources, nothing too structured. To be honest I have just learned along the way what worked for my girls.
The first step was to learn the alphabet and the sounds. I went all out and got books, toys, DVD’s. Using music is a great tool for learning. Songs can be so catchy that kids will always go back to reference when they need help. I found some great resources on YouTube. There’s so many free tools out there to help our kids learn.
Reading daily to our children has always been such an important activity for brain development. Any and all books, but especially educational ones at first. I make sure to have books all around our home, in each child’s room, in the playroom, in the living room, it’s a great way to promote reading and easy for them to access books.
Toys with batteries are also so important to have available, we have an abc magnet on our fridge that when you place the letter it will sing the name of the letter and the sounds.
There are so many educational shows now that are great during screen time. What I do stick with is repetition and consistency.
I also found that snack time is a great time to learn and show them the specific show that they would get the most out of during their fifteen minutes.
Jordan Grace as many kids with Down syndrome learns at her own pace, but honestly each child does too.
Patience is key, some kids may take longer than others, and it takes a lot of dedication from the parents, siblings, family, and team. Nothing is an overnight success. Everything takes time.
Jordan Grace was four years old when she learned to read. Was I surprised? I would say I was more proud of us than surprised. I’ve always known she could do anything she set her mind to. She’s a very determined young lady. I knew that when she looked at me fresh out of the womb talking directly to my soul with her piercing eyes we would make a great team!