Dr. Tom Layton sweeps into the room with such energy and purpose, there is no time to question when the session will begin or what will happen next. His pace is deliberate and fast. As a speech-language pathologist, he has specific goals in mind: early stimulation is key to helping children with disabilities develop the language and communication skills that will help them succeed. To the child, it seems that what matters is that he is spending time with her, totally involved, and praising her for her efforts.
Tom grabs alphabet letters from a pile for her to see and holds his hand atop Ginna’s while she draws two guide lines and then writes the ”M” -the ”two-hump letter” and then the ”S.” Ginna, a child with Down syndrome, makes the correct motions with her hand, moving the pen herself, but steadied by the hand above hers. Gradually, the assisting hand will hold only her wrist, and eventually she will be writing on her own.
”Early stimulation is key to helping children with disabilities develop the language and communication skills that will help them succeed.”
Gradually, the assisting hand will hold only her wrist, and eventually she will be writing on her own.
She identifies pictures of herself eating pizza and dancing. When she has difficulty with a word, she is encouraged to sign the word-fingers dancing on a hand.
She asks to cut the paper on which she has drawn the letters. She obviously enjoys cutting. Then she is asked where the glue is; she points to the stick, opens the top with a pop and rubs it on her page of writing. It goes up on the wall, just as important as any framed item hanging in the room, and she is asked if it should be higher or lower. The sound of ”up” comes through, and her work seems the highest form of art on the wall.
National Down Syndrome Society: https://ndss.org/
National Association for Down Syndrome: https://www.nads.org/
Photos: Robert Ladd