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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How's Maddie Doing?

A simple question.
Not so simple to answer.

How is she doing?

I don't know if all mothers evaluate this question around this time of year, or if it's a homeschooling thing, or a special needs thing, but it seems like January always begins the reflection of what the year has held and begs the question, how is Maddie?

In December we received a devastating reality check with the results of an assessment performed for Occupational Therapy.
I knew Maddie wasn't functioning at her chronological age in most areas, but I had no idea how far behind she was in fine motor skills.
It's true what they say, ignorance is bliss.

I've been trying to step outside our status quo and see ourselves from a fresh perspective.
I've been studying personality types and learning styles, and specifically how they affect homeschooling.
At 38, I can pretty well peg my personality type and learning style.
It's much more difficult to pinpoint Maddie's.
Sometimes it's hard to decipher if she does things as a compensation for her sensory processing disorder, or if that is her true self.
If I were the only figure in the equation of homeschooling, I can envision the most amazing homeschool, and it would more than likely resemble project based learning, or life learning, or "unschooling."

Of course, the trouble is this homeschooling thing is not really about me or for me, is it?
So, what's best for Maddie?

After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion what's best for her is exactly opposite of the natural way I'm wired.
"Isn't God so funny?"
"Hilarious", she answered sarcastically.

It's hard to know for certain what's best for Maddie, but I won't ever know if I don't experiment and see what works.
I feel like the last year and a half I've been trying to do it my way and now we've ended up with devastating results on an Occupational Therapy assessment.
Time for a new strategy.

A mentor once told me when trying new approaches, give it 6 weeks or 9 weeks or whatever period of time, and really commit to it. At the end of the time period, evaluate and see what's working and what needs tweaking.

So, I'm going to take that advice and step outside what feels natural in the attempt to enter into Maddie's world and how she sees things.
My hunch is she likes order, structure, the same things every day, knowing what to expect and when to expect them.
For me, I kind of get a little excited with some chaos, doing the same things over and over is absolute torture, and I feel dead inside when there is no spontaneity.
(I also tend to be a bit dramatic.)
I'm a romantic idealist.
However, I'm excited about these next 6 weeks.
If structure and routine and order are the keys that unlock her potential, sign me up!
I'll do whatever it takes.

And you know what?
I have a feeling God was not being sadistic when pairing two opposite personalities together for this journey.
There are so many things we can learn from each other.
It's really a grace-filled act of love to be given the opportunity to stretch and grow and appreciate each other for the unique ways God has created us.

See, I told you, romantic idealist through and through!

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