Little J took 4 steps twice today.
It happened 15 minutes ago and my heart is still all a flutter. I never doubted that he would walk, it's just when you wait so long for something so natural the level of excitement is almost incomprehensible. I've never posted a video, but I just might have to learn how today.
Down syndrome can bring with it a host of (he just took another 2 and now another 5 steps) physical and mental delays. The physical delays are often caused by hypotonia, low muscle tone. Low muscle tone brings many challenges to overcome when learning to sit, crawl, walk or anything involving muscles, which happens to be everything. Hypotonia is not exclusive to those with Down syndrome. It can show up in any infant, but those with Ds often take longer to overcome it. Physical Therapy is the main "treatment". Kathy comes to our house and works with Little J and teaches us all kinds of activities to do with him until her next visit. Kathy and us work very hard to help Little J, but really it's all him. He has to want it. And we've learned to be patient yet encouraging. Little J's physical milestones have all been met later than a typical developing child. They do come and with great applause, squealing and sometimes a few tears we watch him develop into the little guy God created him to become.
My favorite book for Gross Motor Development.
And here is Kathy's PT suggestions until his next session:
1. 2 hands held - stand in front of him - walking
2. take breaks and resume walking from one room to another
The second suggestion to take breaks while walking has proven very helpful. I will say something like, "Let's go see what the boys are doing in their room." I'll grab his hands and then we'll walk to the boys room. If he tries to sit down, I will let go of his hands and sign "take a break". Then after a moment I'll grab his hands again and say, "ok, let's keep going," Sometimes we will try to bear crawl away during his break time, but I work very hard to distract him (or I just grab his legs and pull him back towards me) into continued walking so he gets the idea of purposeful walking. Seems like it's working well.