Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bursting with Knowledge

I know I'm clever!
Wow! Felix has just had a massive learning spurt! It's like he went to bed overnight and woke up with a brain full of ideas and new knowledge. He has done so many things today that we have never seen him do before!

This morning, we went through our usual ritual of feeding Felix his porridge, while we have a cup of tea and watch the morning news. One news story was talking about some people who were missing after their boat capsized in the ocean. The reporter mentioned that they were sending in the Search and Rescue helicopter to help with the search. Felix turned around and looked at us, and casually signed 'helicopter' and then turned back towards the TV. What was really great, was that he hadn't seen a picture of the helicopter; he had just heard the word mentioned in amongst a news story. It was enough to make him think,"Oh cool...a helicopter!"

Busily drawing
After his breakfast, Felix wanted to play on his ipad. I can't begin to tell you how fantastic the ipad has been for his fine motor skills. This morning, we really noticed how quickly he has learnt to use it. Instead of just banging it randomly with his fingers and opening a whole bunch of different applications, like he did initially, he now looks for a while and decides which application he wants to open. When he has opened it, he knows exactly what to do. In one of his music apps, he uses his 'pointer' finger to carefully touch each key on the piano to hear the different sounds. When he wants to use a different instrument, he knows where the 'home' icon is, so he presses it and then scrolls the page across until he finds the one he wants, and touches that one.

Climbing in his toybox
Later in the afternoon, I watched Felix pick up his wooden hoops (the ones which are different sizes, starting with big at the bottom and small on the top), and put them on the stand. The holes in the middle are quite small, and I have never seen him be able to put them on the stand unless he's had a lot of help. Today he sat there and put one on after the other as easily as anything! They weren't in the correct order, but he managed to put every single hoop on in a matter of a minute.

Another thing Felix played with today was his baby DUPLO (left over from his older siblings; I don't think you can buy it any more). The blocks are round instead of square and are designed to be much easier to put together. That being said, Felix has never been able to put more than two of them together at a time. Today he built a tower five blocks high. I made a house out of some of the blocks and handed him some DUPLO people to put in the house. He very easily put the people where he wanted them to go, and even swapped some of them around, very deliberately, until they were all where he wanted them to be.

We bought Felix a cheap, little plastic table and a couple of chairs yesterday. He thinks it's great to have a set which is just his size and has been busily climbing up and down off them today. Isaiah (14), being the 'mother hen' that he is, was worried he was going to fall head first onto the floor on several occasions, so was watching him very carefully. I gave Felix a book and some chunky pencils to do some drawing while he was sitting up there. It's the longest I have ever seen him focus on drawing. He gestured to Isaiah to draw something, and then he would colour it with his pencils. Even after Isaiah had moved on to play something a little more grown up, Felix still sat there happily drawing on his book (and the table), for ages. I love watching him concentrate; he sticks the tiniest bit of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth when he draws. It's so cute!

Two best buddies
Probably the biggest shock to us today was that Felix pretty much walked everywhere. He's been walking now for a couple of months, but he's still stuck to the security of walking in between objects and people. Today, he walked into rooms, up the hallway, and just generally wandered everywhere. I hardly saw him crawl at all; it was very exciting. Who knows? Maybe he will be able to walk down the aisle at the wedding on Saturday?

I know other parents, of kids with Down Syndrome, have had similar experiences with their children's learning. It seems like our kids plateau for a while sometimes, and don't seem to do too many new things, then all of a sudden they have a huge burst of learning, and totally blow us away with what they can do. They are constantly learning, but sometimes they do so many new things all at the same time it's just amazing! Our little guy is incredible; he is so clever and we are so proud :)