A week or two ago, Katie and I talked about books. She received several books this last Christmas, a chapter book and a few graphic novels. Obviously, I was intrigued. I told her I wanted to borrow her books, and that in return, she could borrow some of mine.
True to my word, I offered her a Nancy Drew graphic novel and a graphic novel about magical girls. I recalled a middle-grade chapter book about girls with magic powers. I thought she’d love the drawings in it too.
However, when I reached my bookshelf, I realized the book wasn’t there. Several years ago, I assumed the book would be beyond her, so I had donated it.
Here I am today, feeling silly and wishing I hadn’t given it away so soon. Katie still finds chapter books challenging, but she reads them with our dad now during homeschool. He reads a page and then she reads one. That book would have been a perfect choice.
I gave her the books I had and nearly forgot about it until I read this post by Heather Phonaker.
At some point in the past two years, someone told me… that people with Down syndrome only advance mentally and emotionally so far. That somewhere in their teen or young adult years, they begin to stop being able to take in as much as they do as children. They get set in their ways and that is why their peers pass them by.Heather, mom of Ellie
Katie is 20 years old now and she’s learning many new things. Her occupational therapist is teaching her cooking and cleaning skills. (They use video chat for now.) Her reading skills are improving.
The other night, she saw me playing with my Rubik’s cube. I got up to finish a chore and gave it to her, asking if she’d like to mix it up for me. I heard her laugh when she figured out how to move it. When she returned it to me, she had partially solved the blue side (just as she had seen me do).
Yes, things like driving and calculus will likely always be beyond Katie. However, she’s going to keep learning. Who knows what she’ll be capable of in five years?
I’ve been listening to the album “Not Too Late” by Norah Jones lately. While the song “Broken” isn’t one of my favorites, one line sticks out to me.
“He may move slow, but that don’t mean he’s going nowhere”Norah Jones
The song is technically about a dirty man with paint on his hands. However, it can also be a reminder to families of people with developmental delays.
A few years ago, I assumed that the “Avalon” book was out of Katie’s reach. Now I’ve realized it would be a good fit. Slow learning is still learning.
Katie hit lots of milestones late in life. She still reached them. Today, she reads books, “likes” my Facebook posts, and plays Frisbee better than I do. (Of course, that last one is a low bar.) She’s my best friend.
I’d like to remind all the parents of the world that growth doesn’t stop at age 18. There’s lots of time for your kid to learn new things. Slow progress is still progress. Even if the journey is longer, you reach destinations just the same.
She may be slow, but she’s going somewhere.