I have to start out this post with a story about why I decided to try sight reading with Ellie at an early age, and a little background on how I gather my info when it comes to anything that is important to me (in this case my daughter.)
If you know me at all, then you probably already know my reputation as a PI- Private Investigator. If you ever need information on anything, call me. I do recon work in my spare time. No but really, in all seriousness I will exhaust all efforts to make sure I feel good about something before I go ahead and do it. And that’s what lead me to Emmanuel Bishop.
You see, when Ellie was 1 year old, I had decided to give supplementing a try. I had heard it all, everything from it being life changing to it is snake oil that has absolutely no benefits. The list of positives and negatives kept on canceling each other out and I didn’t know how to proceed… it’s not FDA approved, there are no double-blind studies, its sooo spendy, it won’t hurt her so you may as well try it, it’s the best thing you could do for your child, DOOOO IT, etc. So I decided to go directly to the source. After a little bit of googling, I found the creator of the vitamin formula and I facebooked her. I have no shame. I wanted to know how her daughter was doing NOW, after being on the supplements for 20 years. She’s doing great by the way. She then proceeded to tell me “most of the wonder kids with Ds you hear about online are TNI kids”. What is TNI you ask? It stands for “targeted nutrition intervention”. In other words, vitamins specifically made for those with trisomy 21.
“Ohhhh realllllly” I thought to myself. Hmm, who can I think of that is a “wonder kid”? So that was when I facebooked Emmanuel Bishop. His inspirational story had been shared with me quite a few times right after Ellie was born. You’ve seen him, the handsome guy with the violin? I see him more than a wonder kid, I would actually put him at rock star status.
A little bit about Emmanuel, he is a teenage violinist who can speak French, English, Spanish, and Latin. He is a swimmer and golfer who has won multiple gold medals. He is a self-advocate. He is amazing, talented, smart, and the list goes on and on. The world needs to know about Emmanuel. Oh, and he also has Down syndrome.
Actually if you would like to learn more about him, please see the below links. The first one is from his upcoming trip to Argentina where he will be a keynote speaker:
And below is in regards to his past trip to Mexico:
I ended up messaging Emmanuel with a few questions… one of them being “did you take vitamins when you were a baby?” He replied to me rather quickly, confirming that yes he took vitamins from the time he was little, but that he also was taught to sight read at an early age. He said the vitamins kept him healthy, but that the sight reading was what has helped him excel. He suggested I do the same for Ellie and he sent me a video of himself reading at 26 months old. I took what he told me a year ago and decided that’s what I would do.
To incorporate a reading program into our already jammed schedule seemed impossible. I thought I would have to buy an expensive program and spend hours drilling the info into Ellie’s head. I was completely wrong. Plus I’m really bad about keeping up on things like this, so I went into it with an open mind, and figured we would just see what happened.
My mom had bought our oldest son a program called Your Baby Can Read about 6 years ago. We still had the dvd’s as well as the flip books- unfortunately most of the flash cards have since been ripped up by our middle boy Luke! I figured we may as well give it a shot since we already have the program. I must say our girl LOVES it! The flip books are her absolute favorite and she is learning the words so fast. We keep the books next to the rocking chair and read them to her at nap and bedtime. Our next step is incorporating some flash cards, as I think she is beginning to memorize the order of the words, that little turkey!
So for our “day in the life of Ds” I would like to talk about Wednesdays. Every Wednesday Ellie is home with her Grammee. We actually no longer call it “Grammee Day”, we have renamed this special day to “Library Day”. A huge portion of the day is spent with Ellie and Grammee snuggling and reading. Ellie will grab a book, hand it to you, then wiggle her little buns right next to yours and patiently wait. Her most favorite book of all is “5 Little Monkeys”. She cannot get enough, she is such a little sponge!
Working full-time I am plagued with the ole workin’ mom’s guilt; it’s brutal. Ellie and her brothers go to daycare 3 days a week. The key for us was working this program into our daily (crazy) life – and it is actually working! For example, I will have Ellie watch the videos (along with her other fave Baby Signing Time) as I am making dinner. I love it when I hear my boys singing songs from her videos, and my 5 year old is learning to read right along with Ellie!
To say she is amazing me with what she is learning is an understatement. I’ve had people say “how the heck can she do that??” Well, you never know what your kid can do unless you try it out. I am so grateful to Emmanuel for sharing with me what worked for him, and in turn it’s working for us too. I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts Emmanuel! Keep up the good work and keep inspiring!
And here is a video of Ellie reading her book.
Meriah is the deaf, single mom of 3 kids (one gifted 2E, one with Down syndrome). A longtime career counselor, teacher and disability advocate, she loves helping to create community and empower parents, people with disabilities (and of course, parents with disabilities).