Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's a term you become way too familiar with once you have a child with special needs. I get asked almost daily by people that haven't met Morgan if she is high functioning. And to be honest I am not even sure if I know what that term means. I think each child has their own strengths and weaknesses but how does that translate into functioning level? If she does well in some areas but not so well in others does that make her less high functioning?
I had a playgroup at my home last month with two girls (and their moms)in the same grade as Morgan (kindergarten) and both also have Down syndrome. Each girl had their own strength that left each of us envious and proud of that child's accomplishment.
Katy's speech is amazing and she was able to tell us exactly what she wanted and needed. She loves being bossy and telling everyone exactly what they should be doing but it is honestly the cutest thing to watch! I now understand the whole, "sweet and loving" stereotype that I have heard way too many times since Morgan was born because Katy was so dang sweet and loving! My kids followed her around the house and never wanted her to go home!
Izzy is toilet trained and goes to the potty without any mommy intervention. Both Katy's mom and I were amazed when we saw Izzy go into the bathroom and go about her business like it was no big deal. We have both struggled with the potty training with our daughters and getting them independent. She has also mastered the computer and playing games on it. She was even able to find the websites for her games.
Morgan impressed them with how well she is doing academically with reading, counting, letters, phonics, etc. but Morgan still struggles with social maturity. She still hits and pushes. And poor Izzy kept getting her glasses pulled off of her face by Morgan.
So is my daughter high functioning? I honestly don't know the answer to that question...she reads, counts to 20, knows all her letters and sounds, feeds herself, walks independently, verbalizes her needs. But then there are also the weaknesses...she still likes to run around in restaurants which means we usually still use a high chair when eating out, she can be socially inappropriate with pushing and hitting, she still isn't potty trained (mommy trained but not independent yet), she still needs help getting certain shoes and clothes on, she still rides in a 5 point harness booster car seat because she slides out of the seat belt on the regular booster and walks around the car while I am driving, etc.
I usually answer that she is doing GREAT! And she is! She continues to make progress and learn new things each day. She is doing so much more than I ever imagined possible when I found out she had Down syndrome. High functioning or low functioning...she is my daughter and deserves all my love just for that reason alone not based on what she is able to do or accomplish.