Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seven Seconds

Seven Seconds can be an eternity when you're with someone and no one's talking. But I'm learning that I have to wait 7 seconds for Beth to begin talking.

In the last year or so, we've learned that Beth can't keep up with normal conversation. (This may not apply to every adult who has Down Syndrome, but it does for Beth.) When there are 3 or 4 of us around the ktichen table and we're talking and laughing, Beth is left out. It takes her longer to process what's been said, so she comments on things we were talking about 10 minutes ago. It's taught our family, no it's teaching us - we're still in the process - to slow down and allow her a chance to join in the conversation.

Beth goes bowling every Tuesday. I work on Tuesdays so when she gets home she calls me.

"Mom? I'm back."
"Great Beth. Did you have a good time?"

1 mississippi.
2 mississippi.
3 missi...

I'm trying to wait 7 seconds so she can initiate the conversation. Seven seconds is a looong time! But 8 out of 10 times, she will begin talking! She'll ask me something or talk about a friend at bowling. It's been hard, but so worth it!!


While my dad and sisters were here, we took them down to the Edmonds Beach. The weather was perfect and we walked along the pier, sat on the benches and watched the sun begin to set.



L-R My sis Debbie, Beth, Chuck, my Dad John, Diana, my sis Kathy


Melissa said...

The 7 seconds is a great reminder! I find this break is needed with Claire, even at 18 months. If you give her a chance, instead of rushing her, she will normally 'say' something. Most of its babble, but I still love hearing her sweet voice.

JC said...

I have noticed Russell has a little of a delayed reaction to things...Like if people start clapping he will look around, watch, and then a minute after everyone has finished he will start clapping. Or if we ask him to say a word and he is not doing it we will sometimes say something else and then he will say the first word we were trying to get him to say...So ya, I notice he needs more time to process too.
Your posts are teaching me so much!

Becca said...

That's such a great moment of understanding and clarity for you!! Glad you have learned to have patience with this, to allow Beth to complete her thoughts! We are always so in a hurry to talk about things and to fill the empty space, that the reminder is important even for speaking with people who *don't* experience that delay in understanding.

Nan said...

. . . . . . . Yah! Jess too! Altho she has learned to say "Just a minute, let me think" to buy herself time when people seem to be getting impatient. THANKS!

Laurie said...

yes, yes, yes....... I must work on this!! It's just so easy to get caught up in the "speed of life", but you're right...... that often means we end up leaving Nevin in the dust.
Hmm...... 7 seconds...... yup, gonna try focusing on that again. Thanks for the reminder.

Beth said...

I have to work on waiting for Hannah to speak too. I find myself "overtalking" her. I don't wait long enough, or I finish her sentences for her. I find that others do the same, especially on the phone with her. She usually plans what she's going to ask or say, but people just bustle right over her. It's got to be frustrating!