When Alternative Communication Breaks Down

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Hope signing “daddy” while talking to her daddy

Sign language is great. We spend the majority of our day signing, from “good morning” through until “goodnight.” Gestures, such as pointing upward to get out of a chair or swing, also save us from the frustration that is a speech delay. And sometimes there are more simple expressions, like hugs to say “I love you” and pushing to say “no more of that!”

Hope points to make choices. Some mornings she doesn’t want to put on her shoes, but if I give her a choice of “left foot or right foot first?”,  suddenly putting on her shoes seems more exciting. The same goes for pajamas at bedtime—maybe she doesn’t want to get changed, but choosing between her shirt and her pants can turn a very stressful encounter into something much more pleasant.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? A box of perfect solutions to our speech delay, all tied up with a neat little bow to show off to the world. But what about the other times when Hope refuses to sign or gesture or flat out do anything except melt into the floor in a sobbing heap of inconsolable toddler frustration?

Well, that’s when Hope is just a two-year-old. Not a two-year-old with Down syndrome. Not a two-year-old who goes to therapy four times a week. Just a two-year-old like everyone else’s two-year-old.

And the mommy hugs I give to console her are just like anyone else’s mommy hugs. Sometimes they even do the trick.


4 responses to “When Alternative Communication Breaks Down

  1. Pingback: Hope Started Preschool! | At Her Own Pace·

  2. Pingback: The Perspective Time Provides | At Her Own Pace·

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