Ok, I've heard the stories about the "Super Genius" kids with Down Syndrome who start reading and recognizing words at the age of 3, (which is sooner than my typical, I think very bright daughter) but truly was a little skeptical. I've spoken to parents who have told me their child was reading at this early age, and have heard first hand accounts of where, when & how it took place, but still thought "I'll believe it when I see it", I admit it.
Until now. We've been working on letters and words for probably 1 year and a half, and have videos, flash cards, leap frog letter magnets, books, puzzles etc. Jaden has gotten fantastic at enunciating all of his letters and words really well, and I was beginning to think he was recognizing letters but wasn't quite sure. I know he loves all of these activities and loves being read to and trying to read. I aldo know when he watches certain shows, he repeats everything or even says things before they come on the show, but typically It's because I think he has memorized the song or words. Until now.
5 days ago, in Barnes & Noble, I was at the magazine rack sifting through some magazines. He was standing next to me saying letters out loud for several minutes until it had drowned into background noise. Finally I looked down at him and he had a magazine in front of him and he was trying to get my attention. "A", "N", "R", etc. was what Jaden kept saying over and over. He was saying the letters and pointing to them in the headline on the magazine. He kept looking up at me to see if I was going to praise him for his knowledge, but shock took over first. I quickly made him repeat what he had been saying to see if he was truly recognizing the letters. I said, "Jaden, where is the 'A'..." He then pointed to the A and said "A", then pointed to the N and said "N" etc. He was clearly reading all of the letters out loud and pointing to the right ones! I started yelling "You're reading, you're reading!" Until everyone sitting quietly started looking over and started clapping! Jaden was so excited, laughing and clapping back. His sister was so excited as well. What a moment, what a moment!
It's moments like this, that I realize how much I need to know he will be alright. Just when I think I'm completely confident in his abilities and future, I realize I'm not. I do have moments of fear and doubt, even though I don't let these moments take over, I still relish the times when he dispells any doubts I may be feeling. It is the reassurance of knowing he will read, he will talk, he will have a productive, fulfilling, exciting life. Do I need him to read now? Of course not. It's just knowing that he's "getting" it. He's really "getting" it. It is all sinking in. Priceless.