When doctors informed me that my daughter, Olivia, had Down Syndrome, I knew that my family would endure some difficult challenges, but I never wavered in my belief that we would rise to the occasion with our love and resiliency. Despite the worst-case scenario horror stories that I read about in books written about people with Down Syndrome, Olivia is a healthy, active, beautiful child. Because she has been blessed with a loving, doting family and skilled, caring therapists, she rides a bicycle, maneuvers the playground like a skillful gymnast and writes and colors like most typical six-year-olds; however, although Olivia excels in her fine and gross motor skills, her speech and cognitive skills are still very much delayed. When a friend suggested that I put Olivia on the AIM Program, I did not waste any time.
Putting Olivia on the AIM Program was one of the best decisions I made. Within three months, Olivia’s articulation began to improve. Instead of one-word utterances, Olivia began stringing three words together. Just recently, she has begun to speak using more sentences. In addition to improved speech, her cognition and focus have also improved. For the first time in her kindergarten class, Olivia earned a “C” on a math assessment, which is quite a leap for a girl who could not identify numbers 6 through 10 in August! Then to my utter surprise, Olivia received an “A” on her oral presentation of Helen Keller. Yes, you read correctly. How does a six-year-old who has significant speech delays get an “A” on an oral presentation? I wholeheartedly believe that so much of Olivia’s progress is due to the energetic balancing of the AIM Program.
Moreover, because she is more focused, she is able to work more independently, which is a huge boom. The more independent work she can do the more likely it is that she can continue to attend the neighborhood school. Because Olivia has made so much progress, her teacher nominated her for student of the month in her special education class. My parents and I cried as we watched Olivia mount the platform to accept her certificate. Just last year, I lamented that Olivia may never get the awards her typical brother earns.
I am firmly convinced that Olivia would not have made such rapid progress this year with her speech and cognition had it not been for the AIM Program.