Let’s Get Real

I’m a realist. Because of that, I sometimes get frustrated when it comes to raising a child with Down syndrome. I want to know what is realistic and my questions are usually met with, “Don’t put limits on your child. She can do anything she wants.”

Well, yes, and no. I mean, yes, if we limit our children and say, “Oh, no, she can’t do that.” then she is going to live up, or down, to that expectation. That’s true for any child or for anyone for that matter. But let’s be realistic here. There ARE limits.

Let’s take me for example. I love to dance. More than anything in the world I wanted to be on my school’s drill team squad. The problem is, I’m not very talented. It took a lot of hard work on my part and only twice did I succeed and that was only as an alternate; once as a freshman and once as a senior. I think I only made it as a senior because I tried out every year and the instructor saw how much it meant to me. Thankfully I still got to dance with the team both times. Of course, when I went to college, I knew no amount of practice in the world would get me on that squad. I didn’t even try. I’m a realist. I knew there are limits and I had reached mine.

I understand that hard work can get you what you want and you can accomplish things otherwise thought out of your reach. Giving up too soon may be a big mistake. This is something I’m struggling with with my oldest daughter right now. You can read more about that here on my personal blog. These struggles with the teen have made me think about the struggles we have with Peanut and her challenges.

If you’ve read my posts at all, you’ll know Peanut’s biggest challenge is speech. Everyone seems to have the solution to her troubles. Sometimes they think it’s a simple fix. It’s not.

Recently we had a meeting with her speech therapist. We again discussed where we are and were we can go. As wonderful and as positive as her therapist is, I often come out of those meetings a little dejected. I wonder if it’s time to just forget about verbal speech and accept that she won’t be able to talk. I want to know if it’s time to just give her sign language and be happy with it. It’s a daily struggle and often disheartening. Sometimes I just want to give up.

I want to know what is realistic. Unfortunately, that answer is not there. Not yet at least.

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