August 14, 2012

Reconsidering an Experts Information

A few days after Rachel was born we met with Dr. Chad (yes, Dr. Chad) the geneticist. In going over information about Down syndrome, he explained how the minds of people with Down syndrome work. Imagine you go to a building every day and you use the elevator every time but one day there is a fire. You would know to find the stairs. He explained that unless a person with Ds was shown the stairs in that particular building, they wouldn't know that there were stairs in the building to use even if they knew of stairs in a different building. They wouldn't be able to connect the two together - if there are stairs in one building, there must be stairs in another building. I don't know why this explanation has stuck with me for these last 3 years but it has. I always thought that was "the truth", a given in the development of my Rachel.
This weekend we were in the backyard. We got Rachel and Charlie a used play house for outside. In this play house is a very crude kitchen that consists of a small plastic faucet and a sticker for a stove burner. As I was standing near it, Rachel got my attention, pointed to the faucet and proceeded to sign "wash hands" and "water." I was thrilled! At first because she initiate signing which she is slowly becoming better about but then my mind flashed back to Dr. Chad and his explanation. If what he said was "the truth", then how would Rachel know what that facet was? How would she know if I hadn't shown it to her and told her what it was and if it didn't have water coming out of it? How did her mind connect the real faucet from our house to a cruddy plastic faucet in a small play house?
Everyone always says that doctors don't know everything, and I believe that and have said that, but for some reason I let this one explanation from one doctor be "the truth" so far in Rachel's life. I am now moved to my core by how blindly I let myself be led into believing that. Thank you Rachel for reminding me of the real "truth". That you are your own person and no one, even a doctor, can tell me what to expect from you. I just need to keep setting my expectations high because I know you will meet them.


  1. Oh I cannot believe that a geneticist would use that explanation! I am gobsmacked! Maybe when Dr. Chad graduates to a title that sounds more like a professional and less like a radio host he will also graduate to more advanced and accepting thinking. Thank God Rachel showed you early how wrong he is.

  2. I love this post! And to add more evidence that the "expert" might not be right is my Emily started at a new preschool a couple days ago and she couldn't reach the sand box, she went around the room looking for a stool, found one, carried it over to the sandbox and climbed up and started playing...and she's only 3! Lately I find that if the Dr. hasn't actually spent a lot of time with a person that has Down Syndrome, I tend to value their opinion a lot less ...there's only so much books and research can teach :-)

  3. Love the post and love this pictures of Rachel. She's getting so grown up looking.

  4. Sounds like Dr. Chad could learn a thing or two from Miss Rachel! You go girl!

  5. This post is so moving. Thank you for sharing the wonder you encounter through your little beautiful Rachel.

  6. Lauri Lewis-CostelloAugust 27, 2012 at 6:17 AM

    You make me cry....what a wonderful Mommy you are! Just keep doing what you do and Rachel will let you know she is listening and understanding more than you think! God Bless you Rachel Jane! She is sooo doggoned cute and getting so big!


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