Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Today's gift is counting.

Do you remember the first time your child started counting?  They started with 1..2..3 and then added 4...5....and then 6...7...8...9 and 10.  And of course took it from there.  This is how most stories go...right?

My story with my daughter who has Rett Syndrome took a different path.  My daughter didn't start counting....out loud....until she was nine.  Not nine months.....nine years old.  We worked with her at school and at home and counted everywhere we went.  We made it a game and she liked it.

I can tell you we have 5 steps to get up to our front porch....we have 4 steps to get into the house from the garage....we have 5 steps to get to our patio from our back porch and we have 15 steps to get upstairs....and of course if you climbed stairs to go have the same number to come back down.

Everyday we count with her....and she counts with us now!  Repetition, repetition, me!  My daughter wants to talk to us so badly, so she listens intently to everything we say. She is listening and taking it all in with hopes she will be able to say the same words.  You know what they say....practice makes perfect.  Well, in this case I say repetition equals rewards!

What I love about my daughter counting now, is she will finish my sentences for me, if numbers are involved.  For instance, when I am talking to her brother and he is ignoring me I will start to count, in hopes it will get his attention as he knows he will get in trouble if I get to three.  So I will start counting...1...and my daughter will say 2....3....and keep going to 10!  I crack up every time!  I love it!  I love how she is using counting with a purpose...and of course a giggle!

Every morning when we walk downstairs in the morning, I say here we go...1...and then in order for us to get to the next step she has to count.  She can not count past ten and this doesn't bother me as I never thought I would hear her count TO ten!  When we get to eleven, I say it and then the twelve through fifteen I have her make the "t" sound she can make along with the numbers I know she can say.  Who knows maybe in another 2-3 years she will be counting even higher out loud!

In the summer when we are at the pool, she loves telling anyone and everyone to GO when they are going to jump why not include counting here too.  She has to count to three for them and then say GO!  Think about this example she is saying FOUR words in a, two, three, go!  Every place we can use words we know she can say, we do...over and over and over again as to help her keep these words, but more importantly for her to know we are reacting to her speak to us. We want to hear her voice!

Ask her what grade she is in and she will tell you.  Ask her how old she is and she will tell you.  Ask her how many brothers and sisters she has and she will tell you.  She cooks weekly at school using numbers while measuring her ingredients.  I didn't realize how often we use numbers until I had a child who could not say them.  When you are working so intently with someone to get them to speak, your whole perspective of language changes.  You realize what words you use a realize how you realize they are listening to everything you say and one day they will repeat a word they have been hearing over and over and over again.

Tonight when we were walking upstairs to take a bath, as soon as her foot hit the first step she started counting...ON HER OWN!  And when she hit 10...she kept making sounds like she was trying so hard to say 11...12...13...14...and 15!  I was so proud of her!  She works so hard at EVERYTHING she does...daily.  She makes me proud with all her accomplishments and I know she is equally as proud in herself.   There is nothing like hearing your "non-verbal" child counting.  As I said, repetition equals reward and here the reward of speech is priceless!

Here are two quotes for today...

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality- Earl Nightingale

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway- Earl Nightingale

While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done- Helen Keller

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