Sunday, 9 September 2012


I have the ability to learn SO much!
I had so many great conversations with people, in person, and online last night after my last blog. I'm thankful for some helpful suggestions from different people about how to enhance Felix's communication. Some suggestions were from parents of kids with Down Syndrome, and others were from people who had worked with kids with special needs. All of the suggestions complimented each other and many were along the same lines, which was fantastic.

I have done some reading about flashcards being a successful tool to help children with Down Syndrome learn to read. I have always planned to use flashcards with Felix when he is a bit older, because it seems like a really fun and interactive way to learn. Kids with Down Syndrome are generally visual learners and respond well to things they can see. After my conversations with a few people last night, I'm going to start making, and using, some flashcards as soon as I can. The people I spoke to have taught me some innovative ways to be able to use flashcards for communication and not just to learn to read.

Our daughter, Bekah, put these words on this photo
of Felix. Speaks volumes!
One suggestion came from a Mum of a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome. When her daughter was about Felix's age, she would push aside her dinner but then sign 'more'. Naturally it was a bit confusing for her Mum who thought she must want more of her dinner, but couldn't work out why she had pushed it away. What she finally worked out, however, was that she did want more to eat, but she wanted something different. She told me that she made up a laminated page, with photos of six different foods her daughter was allowed to eat after dinner (eg. fruit and yoghurt). The next time her daughter pushed aside her food and signed 'more', she was able to show her the page and her daughter could point to the food she wanted to eat. What a brilliant idea! It eliminated both Mum and daughter's frustration at meal times, and was a helpful new communication tool.

Another great suggestion was to take photos of things Felix likes to do; a favourite puzzle, toy, book, or the sandpit or slide, then laminate the photos for longevity. If I want to know what Felix would like to do next, I can show him some of the photos (flashcards), and he can point to the thing he would like to do. It would eliminate some of the guess work, and hopefully empower Felix so he feels that he is being understood a lot more. Obviously speaking the words and signing them along with the flashcards is important, to help with speech development, but the cards would certainly help for the interim and would assist others who don't understand his signs or attempts at speech.

Having a snack while Daddy watches
the football.
It was suggested that taking photos of Felix doing different things (with him in the photo) would also be a helpful tool. A photo of him sitting on the potty, watching a DVD or playing at the park, can also be used in a similar way to the previous example. He could use the flashcards (laminated photos) to suggest places he would like to go or things he would like to do.

All of these suggestions were very enlightening for me, because I've always been a big fan of educational play and using different resources to help our kids learn. Having Down Syndrome means that Felix does have some delays, but it doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability to learn or even pick some things up very quickly. It just means thinking outside of the box sometimes, and being a little bit more creative about how we teach him. I find it really important to observe his learning styles and to find out what works for him and what doesn't. It's an exciting road to be travelling. It's different from the one we've walked with the other kids, but it just means there are lots of new things to learn and see along the way.


  1. Great ideas,we are just getting into flash cards ,love the pictures;)

    1. Thank you! I'm thankful for all the people who let me pick their brains for different ideas :) Good luck with the flash cards. Let me know how they go! x