Monday, April 20, 2009

Michael does learn






Our grandson Michael is part of our world. Michael is nine and he is retarded--severe to profound.
There, I used the "R" word, I know it's not politically correct but you know what I mean. Or do you? People often think that it means Michael will never learn anything, never progress but that's not true. He does progress but very slowly and with a lot of help from family, teachers and therapists.
Michael needs to wear these DAFOs to help support his feet and ankles. They make him more stable when he walks. Some thought that he would never walk and he was almost 3 when he did; 18 months when he learned to crawl.
Michael used to pull his foot away when you put the DAFO on. Now he not only pushes his foot in, he hands you the tongue that goes inside and then the shoe.
Michael and Grandma were playing side by side, each with a different toy. If Grandma stopped he would prompt me to start again by handing me the toy or just touching my hand. Michael doesn't speak but this is one of the ways he communicates. If you pay attention you find that he is quite good at communicating.

He likes his bath. If he thinks it's time he will take you by the hand and lead you into the bathroom. Even if it isn't any where near bath time he might try to con you into it. If he is hungry he will find a an empty sippy cup and hand it to you. He might open the dishwasher to find one. He is pretty smart when it comes to getting his needs met. Of course it helps to have a family that loves him and is determined that he have as pleasant a life as possible.
Michael has learned to go safely down the stairs. I will never forget the day when he was three and he crawled up the stairs at my house. He hadn't been out of sight for more than a few minutes when I went looking for him. I saw him at the top of the stairs and raced up just as he stepped off, tumbling down. He wasn't seriously hurt but you better believe there was a safety gate installed the next day.
Michael likes to go for walks. He walks slowly and awkwardly, but he walks.
For another story about Michael click here.
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23 comments:

Diane C. said...

Great post! I like how you showed the different ways that Michael communicates and explained about how DAFOs help him walk. Love that last photo of Michael and his grandma!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I think Michael is fortunate to have you to work with him so patiently. It sounds to me like he in turn brings you tons of joy.

Martha said...

Yes, Michael brings us great joy.

ewok1993 said...

I love to see the love and chemistry (in your photos) of grandma and Michael. You have your permanent walking buddy; He might learn how to use a camera too someday. Thanks for sharing this.

SandyCarlson said...

He is a complete human being delivering the gifts God gave him his way. How lovely to share his treasurse with us. Thanks.

Kathiesbirds said...

What a wonderful Gramma Micheal has. Keep up the good work. He is a special child.

kayleen said...

Michael is extremely fortunate to have a family who loves him and is devoted to developing him to his fullest potential.

Nebraska Birding

Mary Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing as your world today, great entry.

Barb said...

What a beautiful smile Michael has, Martha! The many ways he has of communicating his wants and needs is amazing.Thank you for sharing your special boy.

Gaelyn said...

Michael is beautiful. So much we don't understand. Bless you and your family for the extra patience and obvious love.

Will you be at your summer home in the Sierras until winter? Enjoy your journey.

Susie of Arabia said...

This was such a beautiful and loving post. The mutual admiration you feel for each other is totally evident. I think you are both lucky to have each other.

david mcmahon said...

All progress is a triumph, Martha.

Ebie said...

Martha, thank you for this post. It gives a great feeling to take care of special needs children. Not only children but adults too. He knows he has a loving family specially Grandma Martha. Everyday is a blessing for him. Take care and I love the last photo, very sweet!

Carver said...

This was a great post about your grandson. I have no doubt that by having his needs met by his loving family he has been encouraged to let you know when he wants something. The fact that he can let you know when he wants a bath or to eat is a testament to the encouragement he has gotten to learn that he can have some control. That seems like as big of a step as learning to walk and it's also wonderful, of course, that he did learn to walk. Great shots of you and Michael. I'm sure you are very proud of him.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Michael is one very special boy and is lucky to have such a loving grandmother.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

What a wonderful and terrific grandma you are Martha! I admire your heroic deed for your grandson Michael. He is one of the luckiest than most of those who are in better physical attribute. Because not everyone of them have grandmas like YOU! My children have grandma from their father side, but she never kissed them not even once.

W. Latane Barton said...

Such a sweet post. God gives special needs children to people who will cherish and love them. I have a 16 year old grandson with autism. He's such a delight and we love him dearly.

Arija said...

I think you are a wonderful supportive family. The best way to care for Michael and others like him is to have them looked after by a loving family. I do hope there is some community parent relief for occasional weekends possible. I used to work with the handicapped in years gone by and respite for the parents is just as important as socialising for the child.

zeal4adventure said...

My aunt is retarded, although not as severe. She's turning 70 and she actually took care of almost all her nieces and nephews (more like played with us actually) and we love her to pieces.

Martha said...

Arija asked about respite. Michael's parents get two evenings and two sundays a month to spend time together without the responsibility of Michael. When Michael was four, we moved several hundred miles away to a retirement community closer to our other son and our summer home. Although we no longer care for him on a regular basis as we did before, we try to give his parents a couple of long weekends off each year and take joint vacations. We visit as often as we can.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

I am certain Michael is viewed as a blessing by you all, and he will achieve what's thought of as unachievable with your love.

2sweetnsaxy said...

What a wonderful, loving post. Thank you for sharing this. Love and patience is a wonderful gift to give. Many blessings you to all.
:-)

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

He seems to be a very happy boy.