Way back in 2012, when Nathan was not-quite two and a half, his early intervention speech therapist was at the house. He was playing with one of his favorite toys at the time, a green-and-white Leapfrog My Own Leaptop. When he first got it, he loved it – probably because he thought he was getting away with something, as he always was trying to get to the real computer.
The Leaptop taught letters and numbers and I don’t know what else, and just before she left, the therapist suggested that we “test” Nathan to see how many letters he knew. I didn’t expect much – after all, he was only two and he DOES have Down syndrome, right? But later, when Mr. Andi was home, we decided to see how many letters of the alphabet he knew.
All of them.
We tested him a bunch of different ways and there was no doubt – he knew them all. We hadn’t worked with him on his letters, and he had just started private preschool a few weeks before, so he had simply learned through the Leaptop, or Sesame Street, or both, or something else, without us realizing it.
Two and a half years later, he’ll turn five this month, and he knows upper- and lowercase letters and the sounds they make, colors, numbers, shapes, and so on, and he’s known them for awhile. I know he has the capacity to learn, and I know he has wonderful preschool teachers and staff, so it’s not all that surprising that he’s progressed to this level.
But on Saturday, he surprised me again.
What seems like a lifetime ago, I picked up four sets of learning games, made by The Learning Journey, at TJ Maxx for about $5 a piece. He’s been wearing out the Alphabet Memory and Match It! Counting sets for awhile, but just recently discovered Picture Word Bingo and Match It! First Words.
He doesn’t exactly play with the cards in the sets the way they are intended – he likes to pull them out one by one, name the image on the card, and lay the cards on the floor around him. I walked into the room and he had most of the cards from the First Words set out. I heard him say “sun” and saw him lay a card down, and that’s when I realized that the card didn’t have a picture of a sun on it – it had the word “sun”.
I stopped for a moment and just watched him. He pulled another card out and said “boots”. I watched carefully and realized it was another word card – this one read “book.” Pretty close…
I grabbed my phone to record video and attempted a repeat performance. I picked up the two cards, hit the red button, and asked him what the first card said: sun. Then I asked him what the second card said: boots.
I just walked into a room where Nathan was playing with some “First Words” puzzle cards (word on one, picture for the word on the other) not doing the puzzle part, just picking them up and naming them. We haven’t worked with him on these at all. I happened to pay attention and saw him do something that blew me away. Here he is doing it again, this time on command. And there were more. (Tap for sound)
With kindergarten looming in just a few months, I’ve been fretting over whether he would be ready, but I’m a little less fearful now. I’m pretty sure he’s ready. The real question is:
Are they ready for him?
Note: This post is in no way sponsored. The four boxes I picked up on a whim at TJ Maxx eons ago have been a huge hit in our house, so I thought some of you might be interested in picking some up for your own child. The links to each item are affiliate links, however, and if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll get a tiny sliver of income for your efforts.