Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cognitive Processing

It has documented in numerous studies, articles, and books that children with Down syndrome have cognitive delays.  I do understand that, but I believe there is WAY more to it than that.  My belief is that that 1. certain things take longer to process (hence the cognitive delay); 2. the processing may be different.

While it may not be readily apparent at times, I strongly believe that Ellie absorbs everything.  EVERYTHING.  However, she has to "connect the dots" and perhaps she connects them in a slightly different order.

For instance, we are trying to teach her sign language.  She will use signs, but not necessarily the correct ones.  She has learned that making a sign gets her something.  She will sign all the signs she knows until she gets what she wants.

Sometimes I see Ellie performing behaviors that are on par with a 12 month-old.  Ellie is 20 months.  I also see behaviors that show me she is advanced--she has her terrific, I mean terrible, twos down pat.  She is the master of terrible twos.  Save me!

In speech the other day, we were trying to get her to sign "more" to get more bubbles.  She shook her head "no".  What?!  Where did she get that?  I say "no", but I do not shake my head.  Great, she now knows "no".  Stubborn little Bearity Bear.

The big brag:
The past few days I have whipped out the broom with dustpan attached to sweep up crumbs under her chair.  Typically I just use the dust vac.  This is what Ellie did last night:

I apologize for the adorable half-naked baby picture, but there was a peanut butter incident. Note that PB does not make good hair gel.

She proceeded to push the broom to her play area.  Once there, she opened a plastic bin in the IKEA shelf and removed her own lime green toy broom/dust pan!  She made the connection!   Now rather than imitating Mama Bear, she placed her broom into the play baby stroller and walked it around the living room. . . BUT she MADE the connection!  She put it all together that we both have brooms with dust pans.  Proud Mama moment!

Ellie is clever.  She truly is.  She problem solves.  The Bear-Bear decided that she needed to climb on top of a huge rubbermaid container in Andrew's office.  She couldn't quite reach it so she walked into the bedroom, grabbed Andrew's laptop case, and brought it back to the office.  She laid the laptop case in front of the rubbermaid container.  Chicka-Boom stood on-top of the laptop case and managed to climb onto the container.  See!  Problem solving!  She is smart!  And giving her mama heart attacks.  "Ellie, I proud of you, but no more climbing!"

The most important thing to take away from this is children with Down syndrome do learn.  They absorb everything and they are taking in their surroundings.  They learn.  Constantly.  It just may not be readily apparent to us.  Those gears in the brain are working.  The synapses are crackling.  Have high expectations.

Also, do not forget the "Big BANG for your BUCK" Give Away is still going strong over on the Taylor's blog.  Help bring Alexander home to his forever family.  Plus, new prizes have been added!



  1. I love this post, Anna! It gives me such hope, and lately Lily has been proving this to me as's like she is thinking about things before she does them, and there is sometimes a delay in her response but she does "get it".
    Ellie is SO adorable- I love her outfit and shoes in these photos! The dustpan in the stroller was hilarious!:)

  2. Awa Grandma can't wait to play with Ellie Bear. She can show me all she is learning.

  3. Love all the connections that Ellie is making all on her own! Claire does things each and every day that amaze (and frustrate) me daily. :) Like opening all the drawers and emptying them. I know I didn't teach her that....

  4. Was just reading an article yesterday on this subject - the brains of people with Ds DO work differently. Check it out here:

  5. LOVE all the exciting things she's doing. a momma...I think I would be having heart palpitations over some of that (oh wait...I already

    It's going to all come together. And if I haven't said it before...Ellie's a pretty little doll baby!! Yep...gotta get the girls together. All Lily's friends are boys!


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