We had the follow-up with the ENT pediatric today. Vince did amazingly well and not a single tear. The good news is that his ear seems OK after all and he did not see any necessity to replace the missing tube at this point. For the first time the typomanometro test actually showed a small curve.
I normally like this pediatric we went to, he has done all surgeries Vince has had and he has been listening to our worries related to all ENT issues. However, today was a bit different.
He is of the opinion that it is the mix of languages that is the root to why Vincent is not talking more. I REFUSE to believe so. Mainly because of a lot of research, a lot of personal experience with children with DS and at least trilingual, and mainly on the fact that Vince understands what we say to him regardless of what language it is said in. I am also basing this on many experiences with children with DS who only learn one language at home and have developed their speech in much the same rate as Vince.
Furthermore, I am fully convinced that Vince WILL speak one day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to ignore this issue. I would say I am an expert on the topic, I do enough research, talking, networking, worrying with the right type of peers. However, in Austria, which is very much a one-language culture, it is very hard to get through to people of the idea of any type of bilingualism. All TV shows are dubbed into German. Live interviews with any non-German speaking person is dubbed into German live. A person will actually speak over the voice, which is annoying as hell if you know what the person’s voice actually sounds like. Instead, you know hear a mainstreamed voice in German sounding totally off.
Why do I say this? Because learning a language in a culture like this is very hard. In Sweden (and many other countries) we use subtitles. Scandinavian people in general have it a lot easier when learning English for example as we have grown up hearing this language on TV and in movies all through our lives. Here in Austria, it is different. In my opinion.
I have now an almost 5 year experience with being Vince’s mom and advocate. And I am getting sick of always having to defend this point. And in 99.99% of the cases I am explaining the situation to someone who only knows one language themself.
Yes, my child has Down syndrome. Or Trisomy 21 if you prefer. But you know what? All though it is a genetic disorder, mainly Vincent is a product of Bookie and I. We made him. His whole DNA and chromosomal build up and genetics is from us. Both of us are trilingual with quite a bit of Spanish knowledge on both sides. I am not counting ASL. My parents are both bilingual at least. My grandfather on my father’s side knew something like 7 different languages. Vince is all a product of this. Just like his brother.
I am not quitting the languages! I am not. For one thing it simply would be impossible. I can not stop speaking Swedish to him, that is after all my language. Bookie can not stop speaking German to him, that is his language. And English has always been our common language and still is the language we communicate in. So the languages are all apart of our daily life. It is simply not possible to just remove one.
The ENT’s theory is that when Vince says something I can not understand it is because he can not separate between the languages. So he makes a word out of the three languages and says it. Seriously? Uhh, no.
My theory? I think it is physically still very hard to pronounce and produce certain sounds in his mouth. I think he knows the sound in his head, and tries to say it, and it comes out wrong.
What do I know, he can’t tell me what the real story is. I just know that I believe in my kid. A lot. I am still not willing to raise him differently that we are raising Edgar just because of the DS. I will not.