31 for 21: U is for Unable to Learn

There’s a longstanding stereotype out there that people with Down syndrome are unable to learn, or can learn to a point and then plateau. It’s true that in people with Down syndrome about 40% are in the mild intellectual disability range with an IQ of 50-70 and 1% are in the functional range of 70-80. For reference, the average IQ of the general population is 70-130. Children with Down syndrome are often behind in basic number skills and struggle with short term memory when provided with information verbally which can slow their intellectual development.

That does not mean people with Down syndrome are unable to learn or max out on their learning potential.

Even at 8 months old I can see that Hannah is fully capable, and extremely willing, to learn. I’ve watched her study a toy, trying to figure out where to grab it or how it made a crinkle noise. I’ve seen her stare blankly at the book Fuzzy Bee & Friends, unimpressed with the colors, textures, and flapping insect wings, then reach for it the very next day and flip through the pages. WIth each exposure to something new, you can clearly see her progression in recollection and understanding. As she grows up, we’ll learn the best ways to help Hannah learn, and will hope that her teachers join are on our side. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me if Hannah never understands Calculus or doesn’t know all the former Presidents. I don’t either.

Unfortunately, there’s one thing that Hannah has learned too quickly – open mouth kissing the dog. At first, she’d open her mouth more out of shock in response to Gamy’s kisses. Then, it turned into intentionally opening her mouth. Now, the mouth is wide open and tongue is out. I swear yesterday she even tried to lick Gamy back. Gamy loves it. Pete and I do not.

Closer, closer...
Closer, closer…
Almost there...
Almost there…
The Eagle has landed!
The Eagle has landed

Pretty damn cute, though.


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