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The Excitement of Reaching Milestones for My Son With Down Syndrome

Cody is on the move. He’s bear crawling, pulling himself up onto things and moving all over the house. As can be common with Down syndrome, Cody hits his milestones later than a child without the extra chromosome. While other children the same age as Cody are quickly sitting up, crawling, walking, feeding themselves and starting to say words, Cody is not there yet.

When I was researching Down syndrome, other parents said that when your child reaches each of their milestones, it is a new level of excitement. They stressed the word “exciting” emphatically. They said it was a different level of excitement compared to typically developing children accomplishing their milestones. I remember when each of my twins started smiling, sitting, walking, talking. It was fun to watch them change and excel. Their growth happened so fast. They zoomed through each phase. The first 18 months seem quite a blur. I was curious on how different watching Cody’s growth would be. Would the delays be frustrating or would they be as exciting as these parents said they would be?

With a Down syndrome diagnosis, the “professional” focus seems to be on what a child will not do and there is a focus on the “negative.” It’s a good thing other parents of children with Down syndrome gave me this optimistic perspective, because they were right. Watching Cody reach a milestone is a whole different level of excitement. It’s a celebration of pure exhilaration that the whole family participates in. There is cheering and jumping around and shouting and rejoicing.

When you have to wait as you watch your child work so hard at something, you cannot help but be overjoyed when they  figure it out. Time may be be all they need, just a little extra time. And as a parent, it gives me the time to savor each phase. And the times when I wondered if my child would accomplish a certain milestone, just like that, he would. Once I saw a few milestones reached, I stopped keeping track of what he wasn’t doing yet. I knew it was going to happen, and I was able to enjoy the ride.

And the slower ride is actually kind of nice, because children grow up way too fast.

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Thinkstock photo by: Ivanko_Brnjakovic