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.