As I've mentioned before, low muscle tone is a trait of Down syndrome. As with everything else, there are varying degrees of low muscle tone. Some can have high low muscle tone and some can be extreme on the opposite end of the spectrum. Low muscle tone makes every day activities difficult for children with Ds. It takes more effort and more work for them to roll over, walk, run, jump, etc. This low tone also affects feeding, drinking and in turn speaking.
It was safe to assume early on that Hailey was a gross motor driven little girl. She was always on the move and always wanted what was out of her reach or what her brothers had. Sitting still is not something Hailey was fond of. While we pushed her to sit up, crawl and walk, I wasn't worried that she wouldn't do it. I just wasn't sure "when" she would do it. She runs now, but still doesn't jump. She will get it eventually.
Unfortunately, talking is not something I was as confident about. Honestly, there are still days that I wonder if she will speak full sentences clearly. In our world, society basis their opinion on intelligence in their ability to understand someone's speech. I'm not saying that it is right, but it is true.
We started Hailey with sign language early on. She started signing a little before she turned 1. She started of course with food related signs: "more" and "cracker". By the time she started preschool, her sign vocabulary was well over 100 signs. Little by little those signs are disappearing. I have had a few people startled that I'm not upset about it. They are disappearing because she is replacing them with spoken words. Little by little, her vocabulary is expanding. Some of the words are funny...she says "jewelry" and "awesome", but doesn't say "milk" clearly. She is starting to add words together. Now, it isn't just "slide", it's "mommy, slide down". Last night in church, she said, "Mom, here book. Read it". Yes, she misses little filler words, but multiple word phrases are huge! She yelled at her brother this past week, "E (what we call Ian) eat. Come on. Let's go." She frequently announces, "I did it!"...whether she did anything cheer worthy or not. "Oh, no", "I pretty", "All done", "all right", "I do it", "hey what's up", "Want ____ (fill in the blank with any food item that is near or pops in her head", "shoes off", shut door", "mom help" are a few more. She has more, but sometimes we hear it once and don't hear it again for several days or even a few weeks.
It has been a slow process, but we are seeing definite progress. Hopefully this continues and we don't see a growth plateau anytime soon. I love hearing my little girl chat away! It is music to my ears (99% of the time :-) There are days that the "Mom....." is a little piercing, but I love her.