If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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It took about a year and half to get Sonny to say, ‘I want help please,’ using hand signs and words. He has become good at it now, but often uses it as a get clause when he can’t be bothered. Clever.

So you can imagine my surprise in a soft play centre the other day, when I was at the top of the slide and Sonny was trying really hard to climb up it (he had socks on). He tried and tried for about 10 minutes. He wasn’t really getting angry when he failed, just kept trying different ways until he eventually made it to the top. I felt a little bit mean videoing him from the top and not helping him out (Here’s the vid.)

Anything he does independently is a massive deal (he opened a crisp packet on his own the other day and I nearly passed out with excitement.) We have devised a sort of victory dance (it involves a sequence of very enthusiastic high fives, jumping, and shrill screaming) to celebrate anything he does on his own, which he seems to like!

I don’t want him to grow up thinking he can’t do something, just because he didn’t try, or because someone else did it for him.

I learnt how to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 19. I made a vague attempt when I was younger but couldn’t commit to the process. I gave up fairly quickly (never have been good with failure) and ever since just accepted the fact that I simply couldn’t do it. The only reason I can ride a bike now (only just, corners are an issue) is because I had some strong-willed friends at University.

Sonny needs more support than neuro-typical children obviously, but I want him to be able to ask for help in some situations, where he needs it, but I also want him to learn that when he puts his mind to something he can achieve it.

Who doesn’t love a trier, anyway?

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Sonny Says Sentences!



Sonny’s mum text me in the week telling me that Sonny had said his first full sentence, without being prompted.

It was, ‘I want toast please.’

Apparently he just bowled into the living room and just said it casually like it was no big deal.

What an absolute legend.

When I took him out this weekend (we went to Coram’s fields in Russell Square, which is a playground with climbing frames etc) he said loads of sentences like, ‘I want bus please’, ‘I want soft play please,’ and ‘I want go home please’. Though not entirely grammatically correct, true, in my book a sentence is a sentence.

Obviously my first instinct was to freak out, throw him in the air and scream, ‘OHMYGOD SONNY that is amazing you said a sentence you are so clever I am so proud, WWOOOOHOOO,’ etc, and then to break down in tears of pride. But I managed to reign it in and keep relatively calm and said, ‘oh good talking Sonny!’

Moments like that, when he does something new and unexpected, that myself and his family and teachers have all been working on, are the most precious moments, because it makes all the difficult times and struggles worthwhile.

That is one of the best things about Sonny. He always shocks me with new things he says and does, and it never fails to blow my mind.

It may not sound like a big achievement, but is a HUGE milestone in his development, it’s like the equivalent of someone learning to drive for 3 or 4 years and then nailing a three-point turn for the first time. I couldn’t imagine Sonny talking at all when I first started working with him…to be honest I was unsure weather he ever would. He was frustrated and angry a lot of the time, partly due to the fact he was unable to communicate his needs. But I could barely shut him up this weekend. It was quite frankly bloody brilliant.

Working with children with special needs, it can sometimes feel like you are fighting a losing battle, bound to not succeed, and then you see the child do something for the first time and it makes all your hard work worthwhile.  


(Below: I think he has been spending too much time with me…His pout is starting to be better than mine.)  


Aaaand finally, click here and here for some videos of Sonny busting a groove.