Saturday, June 8, 2013

If I Could Go Back and Do It Again

Can't believe it's been almost a week since I've posted. It seems as we get older, our lives are getting busier. That's not how it's supposed to happen, is it?

There was an article that went around a few months ago, written by an adult with Down Syndrome and one of the things he talked about was sitting at the kitchen table and being left out of the conversation because everyone was speaking so fast. He said that he knew he was being left out. He wanted the rest of us to know it too. Unfortunately I can't remember his name (my memory, ugh) but that article had a deep impact on me. I think about it almost daily.

One thing I've started doing as a result of reading that article is talking slower around Beth. I don't slow down so much to seem obnoxious but  just  enough  for  her  to  be  able  to  process  the  words  before  I  move  on  to  the  next  thing.

I don't think others notice when I'm doing it. I try not to be one of those people who talk really loud and up close to someone who is hard of hearing, I  just  slow  my  speech  slightly  and  I  can  see  her  processing  the  words  as  I  say  them.  She  doesn't  ask  me  to  repeat  things  as  often  and  I  find  myself  wishing  everyone  spoke  to  her  this  way.

It's  been  quite  an  adjustment  but  it's  been  amazing  to  watch  the  change  in  her.  She's  more  willing  to  talk  and  is  definitely  more  willing  to  listen.

If  I  could  go  back  about  10  years,  I  would  have  started  talking  to  Beth  like  this  right  about  the  time  she  graduated  from  high  school.  As  a  kid,  Beth  was  active  and  silly  and  as  busy  as  my  other  kids.  But  as  an  adult,  she  has  become  slower,  quieter,  and  more  calm.  Not  sure  that's  what  happens  to  all  adults  who  have  Down  Syndrome,  but  that's  what  happened  to  her.  Unfortunately,  I  didn't  slow  down.  I  kept  thinking  fast,  and  talking  fast.  And  I  would  get  frustrated  when  she  didn't  keep  up.  But  I'm  trying  to  change.  I'm  trying  to  slow  down  a  little.  Trying  to  keep  her  included  in  the  conversation.


Caz said...

It's so good that you're tuned into this, and that it's making a difference. Good to hear from you.

EN said...

I totally relate. I'll ask Josie a question and when she doesn't answer immediately, I rephrase it and ask it again...and again...and again! Josie's SLP suggested we speak to Josie like Mr. Rogers - at a calm, slow, conversational rate. Nothing too exaggerated or obnoxious - just soothing like Mr. Rogers. Sometimes I still have to stop and remind myself to give her a few seconds to process. It's a good practice to be aware of. Bravo for blogging about it :-)

my family said...

great perspective, something for me to really think about as william keeps up well now but we need to get into the habit for the future

thanks for stopping by my blog:)

Lisa said...

This is so helpful! Thank you for sharing it.

Kristin said...

I hope I remember this!

ckbrylliant said...

Thank you for sharing this. We are in a bit of a tug of war with Bridgie when it comes to communication. I have realized recently that I too need to slow down, look at her, at her level, maybe even smile and things go much more smoothly.

Laura said...

Your perspective means so much to me Cindy! Ben's SLP always is reminding me to slow down. I really need to for Ben's sake!