Thursday, March 3

Down syndrome and combined hearing loss with vision

For Tommy's first year of life he had a combined hearing loss and delayed visual maturation.  It wasn't until he was nearly two years old that both were corrected to the point that he was seeing and hearing within normal ranges for his age.

The processing of that vision and hearing has needed some catch up time.

We have been blessed with working with Wa State Sensory Disabilities Services.  This is taken from a recent observation of Tommy within his sweet preschool environment.   I thought it would be helpful for my extended family to see where he is in language development and how he favors, slowly, sign language. 

Observations: Tommy cooperated with the morning routines, followed one- step directions when spoken and signed, engaged in building blocks, drawing, circle time and large motor activities for 5-10 minutes at a time. A big improvement from last year! Tommy initiated communication with different teaching staff during the morning: Examples of communication skills included:
• Getting adults’ attention by vocalizing or gesturing and thensigning or gesturing for what he wanted
• Establishing eye contact
• He vocalized with the sounds “ba ba,” “buh buh,” “da da,” “ha ha,” and imitated a mouth movement the teacher made.
• Chose a snack by selecting from pictures offered

• Vision and Hearing updates. Sandi reports that Tommy’s hearing evaluation reveals with PE tubes, his hearing is within normal limits. His original diagnosis of “delayed visual maturity” no longer applies, according to Sandi’s summary of his vision test. This means he continues to develop visual skills and that he has access to sound, even if he is delayed in attaching meaning to speech sounds.
From classroom records, he consistently understands about 40+ signs and regularly uses 15+ signs which is age appropriate  for 36-60 month for interaction, vocabulary, grammar and speech. 
Research shows that printed words (that the child already understands but doesn't say yet) may be helpful for learning speech, for children with Down syndrome
Use of pictures, and "experience books" may be a way to build vocabulary at home and at school
So, I'm off to get a laminator machine (or use Amy's) and make pictures with sight words for familiar objects at home that he can then use to request.  This was INVALUABLE feedback.  And although VERY specific to Tommy, I wanted to share his progress and some ideas on how to continue on from this point.

Tommy Adventures