Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tonight when everyone was just about finished having dinner out on the deck, K disappeared into the house.  She really didn't enjoy what I made tonight & ate very little.  A couple of minutes later, I heard some banging sounds from within the house & went inside to discover this:

I was impressed that she remembered something to strain the noodles with, but we had a little discussion afterwards about who is allowed to cook & who is not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Up Up Up & Hooray!

Earlier today, my youngest 2 daughters were playing.  My 8 year old said "  Up up up & away" - I'm sure it was not anything to do with my blog name.   K immediately replied with "Up up up & hooray!"  My older daughter replied, "No, Up up up & away"  K insisted  "No, Up up up & hooray!"   I love it!  I guess I should have asked K's opinion when I chose the name for my blog!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stay Tuned.............. MonkiSee DVD Review!

I just received a copy of the new MonkiSee Action Video in the mail this morning.  I am excited to see how K likes it.  I did not hear about this program until K was already reading independantly & able to learn 40 or 50 words per week just with flashcards.  Because she was past the point of learning common everyday words, I really needed to create her own program in order to teach new, less common words, so I didn't feel it was worth purchasing any type of manufactored video or program.  I was however, very curious about this program, so am pleased to have the opportunity to review it.

Here is a link to the MonkiSee website:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Response to a question about neurodevelopmental programs

This is my reply to a question that was asked about neurodevelopmental  (ND) programs.  I am definitely not an expert though, so if anyone else wants to chime in, please do so.

Most importantly - all activities are supposed to be done joyfully.  We try to make our program activities a game that K enjoys.  This is not always easy, especially with an independent spirit like my dd has, so we don't always get everything done, but I think it is more important, especially for the learning activities, that she enjoys it.

My dd's ND program incorporates many activities. Some are similar to OT & PT activities, her early reading program, memory development, oral motor, balance, sensory, vision, speech, early math & listening skills. Some of these activities are active, physical activities, and some are passive such as listening to specific things while doing a fun activity. Many of the activities are associated with brain development.

Most activities are done for a very short duration - 1 or 2 minutes, but are done several times throughout the day.  Every child doing a ND program has a very specific program created for them based on their specific needs - no two programs are alike.

We started with a home made program for our daughter for the first three years, then got a ND evaluation & have been doing their program since.

To make our home program, I used various books.  On a personal note, I really dislike the way some of these books are titled, but really appreciate the information that I found inside:

This is the book that is often recommended to parents of kids with DS or other disabilities, but I admit that I found it very frustrating. It is the history of these methods, which is useful information, but part of the book's title is "What to Do" & it was just history & did not answer that question, when at the time, I really wanted to know what to do.

and here is the main bookstore link for other related books:

Here are the main ND organizations that I know of:
Hope this helps a little, though there really is so much more to it than this.

Editing to add a link to Andi's list of neurodevelopmentalists. It is the most complete list that I know of:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Handwriting Without Tears - Playing With Mat Man

Mat man is one of the preschool activities in the Handwriting Without Tears program. The song leads the child through the steps necessary to create the mat man.

I took this picture a while back, just after we got our Handwriting Without Tears program materials. K had seen the mat man done only twice before, & one of those times was last fall. The only help I gave her was to pause the CD long enough for her to get each piece in place before allowing the song to continue.

She actually had the ears & face in a better position, but bumped them when putting the other pieces in place.

She is really enjoying this program!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My New Dining Room Decor..........

Lovely & stylish isn't it?  For a brief moment I hesitated to take down the painting that once hung in this spot, but then the oh, so not  concerned about home decor part of me took over & the map became our new dining room conversation piece.  I knew my oldest 2 girls would use it occasionally, but I was so suprised that they have taken such an interest too. Granted it's only been up about 2 weeks, but it is now part of our daily dinner conversation & I have to admit that I now have a better understanding of where different countries are in relation to each other.  K is even more interested of course because her big sisters are enjoying it so much.  She can already identify Canada, & for some reason, she seems quite interested in Australia & Greenland & regularily points them out.  We have done a little bit with maps in the past on the Canadian Provinces while reading sight words, so this was a great next step.

 All of the home decor shows will be callling, don't you think?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Expect. Don't accept.

This is a wonderful speech given by Paul Daugherty about his daughter with Down syndrome & the high expectations he & his wife have for her. It is a wonderful read.

BrillKids Little Reader & Little Math Programs

I thought I would re post this for my newer readers who haven't seen it yet.  BrillKids offers a discount from 30 to 100% off of both their reading & math programs for kids with special needs.  So far everyone I have talked to says that they have been very generous - 100% off, so make sure you check it out.  Here is a link to the details in a previous blog:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Up, Up, & Away..........

............but not with Down syndrome...............A few people have googled my blog & found it by typing in "away with Down syndrome".  I'm  not complaining - really, I really do appreciate that they care enough to look for my blog & read my thoughts, but I thought I should take this moment to explain what I meant when I titled my blog this way. 
 I don't want  to do away with Down syndrome, I want my daughter to be known as this awesome kid who, (as an afterthought) just happens to have Down syndrome.  I want people to realize that DS is really not the important part of who she is & I want people to realize that my daughter, & most people with DS are not the stereotypical person that many people picture in their minds when they hear that diagnosis.  And sometimes.......?  I just want to say "Look - my daughter can do (insert list here) that your "perfect" child can't."  OK, I'm ranting now, I know, but low expectations & stereotyping can be the worst enemy of a child with DS and I tend to get a little passionate about the subject.

As many of you who have been reading my blog realize, I have very  high expectations for my daughter.  Up, Up, & Away refers to the  fact that I feel the sky is the limit for her.  Only she can tell me if she will have any limitations in life.  At risk of being that Mom who has unrealistic expectations or can't accept reality, I will not accept any one's opinion about my daughter's future but her own.  She will show me what she can do in life and I have no doubt that one day, with my eyes filled with tears of joy, pride & a little sadness, I will wave goodbye to K as I did with her big sisters before her, as she heads out to live an independent life.

I have  no crystal ball, I could be wrong in my predictions, but I won't take the goal of a full & independent life or any other dreams away from her - it is not my right as a mother to do that, especially when the child I am talking about is only 4 years old.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We try to encourage K to join in whatever her sisters are doing & last week it was golf.
  We borrowed some tiny golf clubs from a friend who was there with her 2 little girls & K had a blast!

Handwriting practice

Right now, we're mainly working  on the Handwriting Without Tears program to teach K to learn to print.  We are trying to keep K interested & having fun.  I don't usually do handwriting worksheets, but a while back, I found this website where you can create your own handwriting worksheets.  I like the fact that you can choose your own word, colors, letter size, etc. As your child gets a little more experience at writing, you can change it so that only the starting points of each letter appears, not the whole word.  I'm going to continue to use Handwriting Without Tears, but I will also print off a few with K's name on them just for fun. Here is the link:

Handwriting Worksheets

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Easy Flashcard Maker Site

This is a flashcard maker that I used in the past.  It creates a series of word only, flashcards with whatever words you choose.  Nowadays, I just use hand printed cards because K has no problem reading them, but I did find  this helpful at one time when she found it easier to read print.

As an afterthought to this post, I thought I'd add that at one point, K only seemed to be able to read word in print.  We started using more  hand printed cards & switching fonts (which was easy with Little Reader) & soon she was able to read in any form.

Here is that link:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great Blog Post About Early Reading

This is a blog post on early sight word reading done by Ria at Bill and Ria's blog. Ria's son Mathew whom I believe is about 3.5 years old, is reading over 100 sight words already! Here is the link to her post:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Big Girl Bed Update

A recent picture first:

No, it wasn't an overnight success & yes, the pun was intended lol.   We bought a couple of bed rails that make her bed look kind of like this, except it has a bed rail on both sides:

I  almost feel like we're putting her back in a crib again, because it is so enclosed, but I think it is better than letting her fall out onto the floor all the time.  I think the 2 of her older sisters that always ended up on the floor were 5 & 6 before they finally started to stay in bed without a little extra help, so we will try this for & while longer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Blog Post to Answer Some Early Reading Questions asked by a Reader.

Earlier today someone reading  my blog left a comment & asked some questions.  My response became so long winded, that I decided to put it in a blog post in case others are interested too.

hi there, just wanted to ask how you choose the words you teach you dd every week.. do you choose a subject and make all the cards accordingly?

When K was really little, we choose words that were exciting to her such as the names of her sisters, & grandparents. 

Then we started with common, familiar nouns like animals, foods, pets, & toys.  We continued to use nouns for quite a while because K refused to read words only & insisted on seeing a picture too, although it became harder & harder to find interesting ones, hence the video I posted  here of her reading world monuments. Thankfully Brill Kids has an extensive set of flashcards (literally thousands).

Next we started showing her the Dolch sight words, which kept us going for quite a while & then we taught K a list of dolch phrases.

About this time, K started to be able to read simple library books, so we started to take individual books that were a little above her reading level & teach her the words she didn't know.  

We still teach her words from new, more advanced books, but now we are also doing word families so I am trying to do this with phonics readers.  I have been noticing for a while that K is starting to figure out words that she hasn't been taught.  I am encouraging this skill by moving to word families & teaching them as sight words.

 i just wanted to ask where you got the words from.. do you sort them according to subject, and how you selected the subject?

In the beginning we sorted them by subject, but now we are sorting them by sounds as we are doing word families.  Sometimes we just throw random sets in just for fun or because it is relevant at the moment.  For example, we went to the circus with friends a couple of months ago. I blogged about how I checked on BrillKids & found some circus flashcards which we taught to K on the way.

also, how do you know that she will be able to read and remember all these words later on? i mean after 6 months for example, do you go back to the older words and check to see if she still remembers them?

In the beginning, we  had no idea if K was even learning any words, let alone remembering them for any period of time because we were careful to foster a love of reading by not testing or pressuring her.  Around the age of 2, however, she started to quite happily volunteer the word each time.  Around that time, I started putting one old set of cards in with her new  ones each week.  She never had any trouble remembering the old cards, so finally, by the time she was reading about 700 or 800 words, I quit doing that.  Occasionally we get out her old cards for her to read for fun, but she doesn't have a problem remembering even cards she hasn't seen in 6 months or more.  I know this is a problem for some kids, and I am talking about typical kids when I say this, only because I haven't talked to enough parents of kids with DS who are reading at this age.  I do recommend reviewing old words until you are confident as I am that forgetting words is not a problem.

how do you organize the new things she learns along with the old things she already finished? thanks:)

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by organize, but I'll try to answer.  First of all, I confess.....I am not an organized person!  The Doman method suggests teaching so many words each day & retiring old words & adding new ones each day.  I am not organized enough to do that, so I teach a series of cards for a week, retire all of them & start a new set the next week.  I just store the olds cards in sets with an elastic around each set to seperate them & put them in rectangular baskets.  When I was reviewing on a regular basis, I would set them in the baskets in chronological order, so I was always reviewing the oldest words, & transfer them to a new basket after reviewing them, so I knew which ones I needed to review.

I hope this answers all of your questions.  If you  have any more, please feel free to ask:)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day, Eh!

I hope all of you Canadians are having a great Canada day!  Our family usually goes to a local community to enjoy their celebrations.  There is a parade, a breakfast, ball games, kids games & activities & the highlight for my girls?  The gymkhana of course!  K's big sisters had one of those days where everything went well & their horses were very cooperative.  They brought home 2 buckles & numerous ribbons. K was able to enter an event for the first time riding her trusty steed "Goose".  (His name is actually Deuce & although she knows this & can say it properly, she insists that he be called "Goose" - We didn't name him, perhaps we should have asked her opinion & changed it when we bought him! lol)  In this event which is open to children 6 and under, the adult leads the child to the end of the arena & then the child leads the horse back.  In true, hardheaded, preschooler fashion, K insisted on doing it her way.  Instead of running back, she took her time wandering back to the end of the arena, but managed to snag a fancy blue, 2nd place ribbon - she was thrilled! 

Riding "Goose"

Leading "Goose" back

The big prize!

Watching the action with a big sister

Enjoying the gymkhana