Because Every Child Has Their Own Forte

Ever since I became a mum I have been advocating for my children. When Piglet was born prematurely 4 years ago we began a bit of a journey of missed milestones and assessments, and when JJ made his early arrival too the cycle continued.

Between both children they have been seen by speech and language therapists, audiologists, physiotherapists and multiple additional health visitor appointments to assess their improvements. The details of those appointments are not for me to share – each child has their own story and I wouldn’t like to give away too much of their personal details. But they are both amazing boys with their own personalities that draw you to them, and I am always immensely proud.

2 boys in matching yellow coats are sitting on a bench and giving their dad a high 5
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I always advocate, particularly with JJ, that just because he cannot walk does not mean he is still a baby. However it can be quite hard to practice what I preach. With a diagnosis of symptomatic hypermobility spectrum disorder JJ is not yet able to walk consistently and safely, despite significant improvement in the last few months. and when he’s crawling and not able to speak I can forgot he is not far from his second birthday. He’s not letting that stop him though.

Last night I was watching him play. JHogg and Piggie were in another room doing something together, and JJ was desperate to get his hands on one of Piglet’s toys. It’s not one I generally let him have, due to small parts and the risk of him putting it in his mouth, but I figured it would be ok if I was watching him.

A rainbow coloured wooden counting toy. The numbers 1 to 10 are listed with corresponding coloured rings
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I was tired, I’ve been unwell for a week and taking antibiotics. With Piglet’s birthday and a busy weekend attending 3 different kids parties I needed a rest, so I handed him the toy on the floor and sat on the sofa – not showing him what to do with it.

I was on my phone, reading e-mails and catching up on the weekends events, glancing down occasionally to make sure he was ok. He was taking the rings and numbers off the board, which was pretty much what I expected. I carried on, but when I looked back he was doing it again, but in the right place.

I woman sits with a young son on her knee. She has blonde hair and glasses and is wearing a grey tshirt. The boy also has blonde hair and is eating a biscuit in his pyjamas
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Despite never being shown any colour matching activities before JJ instinctively knew what he was to do with the you. His gross motor skills are delayed, but his fine motor skills are bang on track as he carefully threaded loops on to the correct pegs.

I was blown away by his ability at such a young age. In reality there are probably plenty 22 month olds who could do similar – but many wouldn’t have the patience for it. Communication wise, JJ is relatively silent, using pointing and the odd sign to communicate (his favourite sign is “biscuit” and he uses it at least 10 times a day in the hope I’ll give him one). However he clearly has a logical mind more than capable of learning relatively complex activities without being shown first.

A boy is next to a small table with a rainbow coloured counting puzzle. He is smiling at the camera with blue eyes and blonde hair
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I’ve joked that he’s a genius and that I need to sign him up to Mensa, and while that might not be the case, I think we have found JJ’s forte. His area to shine. Knowing that he is a logical thinker means I can tailor his activities to suit that going forward (in contrast to his brother who is definitely a kinesthetic learner).

Every child has their own forte – and I’m so glad we’ve found JJ’s.

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