I started reading to Marian when I was 30 weeks pregnant. Even though I am not a voracious reader, I will try to read every night and say it out loud before going to bed. Studies show babies can hear their mother’s voices and I wanted to let her know that learning can start even before she was born ????
A few weeks after I gave birth, I started to read books to her while I breastfed, or when I had some free time. When you are a working mum and breastfeeding, that is a rarity. And so, I will read the same book over and over again because consistency was key. I didn’t know if she could understand at that time but she kept quiet when I read books to her – it’s as though she was really listening to every word.
When circuit breaker happened in 2020, me and my husband were stuck at home and I had to entertain my child. I felt that it was the right time to follow a rigid schedule on her daily activities and encourage her to learn not just reading but by exploring other activities at home.
We exposed her to trying her hand in the kitchen and she was extremely excited over spilled flour and water everywhere. (not me though lol). We did the same thing with colours because I read somewhere that kids with Down syndrome can be artistic and creative. We did it almost every day, it became a daily routine.
In hindsight, I realized that the way I treat Marian shouldn’t be any different than how I should treat other neuro-typical kids. They are the same, yet different.
It’s the same because all children are curious and have a thirst for new experiences. The only difference is that teaching a neuro typical kid may require a shorter time to understand a concept; whereas a child with special needs require time, a LOT of patience and effort to reach a certain goal/milestone. But I assure you, once you have achieved it, it’s all WORTH IT.