If we were in the US, Nava would qualify for and receive Early Intervention services meant to help her achieve developmental milestones. What services exactly would depend on what state we lived. In Oregon, it would mean having a generalist "educator" come give us tips and all different things, maybe twice a month. If we were in California, she'd likely have a combination of physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy. If we were living near LA or SF, she might even get vision therapy (due to her cataracts-turned-contacts).
But we don't live in the US. We don't live where they have those kinds of therapists for babies like Nava. So we do the next best thing. We do it ourselves.
- We use books, specifically these from Woodbine House publishers. There were the first and most often recommended books to us this year. People even tried to give them to us twice but by then I'd already bought them. They actually are as great as people said.
- And then I use lots of internet resources. Places like the Downsyn forum, the Baby Center forum and the Einstein Syndrome email list. Turns out there's more than a little controversy in this special world. Yeehaw.
- I emailed lots of moms. And I follow their blogs (blogs to the right, one day I'll organize it, promise). And I play "ooh, when they were Nava's age, they did that..." and "oh, they have one of those ... toys, we should get one of those".
And Nava has actually not really needed much help up to this point. She was born with only minimal low muscle tone so she isn't up against as much as many other kids with DS. Her eyesight (namely, lack thereof) until about 6 months did cause some delays. But she seems to have really caught up from that now.
So where is she at today exactly?
As far a gross motor (big motor skills): She sits great and has since around 7-8 months. We're now working on sitting on a low bench (90 degree angle knees). She can pivot 360 chasing a toy, either direction. She is just getting a tummy crawl going, usually no more than 1-2 ft though the nanny nearly had a heart attack the other day when she's gone 6 feet towards electric cords. We've definitely determined she can go pretty far but its tough going army crawling with that big belly and right now she seems to lack the motivation. She loves to stand and can stand against a wall or holding on to table top, etc. She's only very occasionally getting up on to her knees so that will be a while yet. And her big big belly I think is making mobility a little difficult!
On the fine motor (tasks with hands...) department: She grab things a hold them tight well. She's really improved in the her ability to grab small stuff but doesn't have a real pincher grasp just yet. She can self feed pancake chunks, frozen blueberries, green beans, and teething biscuits. She doesn't yet bang things.
Her communication skills are now emerging. She watches Baby Signing Time for a little while each day, so she's doing *her* part. We try to sign to her, but to be honest, we are pretty crap in this department. It's on my list of Things We Must Get Going On. I think the emergence of the first sign is gonna help us get it in gear.
She's gotten very vocal again recently (she was vocal around 6 months but seemed to mellow in the last months). I noticed over the last two weeks, every time she was face to face with another kid she was vocalizing. She kind of talks as we read book now too, so that's something for mommy to get to work with.