The tortoise and the hare

Kirsty MacCuish

I know (obviously) that Amelia has Down syndrome, and with that comes a learning disability.

I know Noah, is what you call a ‘typical’ child.

I knew at some point Noah would overtake Amelia in certain aspects of learning.

I did not expect it to happen at 30 and 15 months.

And I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

A simple request; ‘can you go get me your slippers please?’ For some reason this went completely over Amelia’s head, she looked at me blankly and after asking her for the third time she walked off to the kitchen and back again. Without slippers! I asked Noah to go get his slippers, he ran off and came back with his slippers and then went back for his sisters! 

Amelia does understand simple instructions; she’ll get the animal you ask for, put her rubbish in the bin or tidy the toy you ask her too (well 3/5 times); but on this day this simple request seemed to dumbfound her. I know she has understanding and it’s not something that happens with everything we ask her, all the time; but it gave me a look into our future – maybe near future. 

I won’t lie, I struggled at the time; and other than Amelia’s dad I haven’t really told or spoken to anyone about it. Why? I don’t really know! It made me proud of Noah seeing how great his understanding is at his little age, but it upset me that already he is coming close to surpassing her with certain things. He’s already faster than her with their ‘running’, but I enjoy watching them chase one another. It made me think of how Noah will look after and teach her things as they grow and go through school. Then I thought, Amelia has taught Noah so much already! She got him walking (at 9 months!), all the noises he makes he’s learnt from Amelia, he copies her when she does nursery rhymes, and best of all he uses a few Makaton signs! Why is that? Because he has watched his wonderful big sister communicating with him and he’s learnt. From Amelia.

So yeah, it came as a shock to me, and I’m still a little uneasy about it; but it’s a learning curve for me as I’m sure it is with all SEN mums (and dads), I look forward to watching them both teach each other. For now, they take on both roles of the tortoise and the hare, one day they’ll have their roles in the story; but as we know already from watching Amelia – she won’t take long to catch up!

See more from Kirsty, Amelia and Noah at @ameliabutextra