Elias in the end of 1999
Elias is now 27 months old. From September 99 he is included in a daycare/preschool, a group of 15 children from age 0-6; - after more than one year of fight against the local authorities. He is the only child with special needs in this group. After he has now got used to be in the the group, we are quite sure that we made the right decision. Elias is a well accepted group member and has already found friends; depending on the kind of activity there are children at his age or younger. We were especially fascinated by his play development. After a short time of attending the group he already began role playing. For example he fed his teddy bear or took him up saying "baby arms". In the beginning the other children were fascinated to see that Elias is"talking with his hands",that is using sign language additionally to his speech. In the meantime this has become just normal every day life. We are really glad that Elias is able to be just a child like everybody else in the group.
The administration of the City of Cologne refused to pay an aide for Elias - they didnīt wish his inclusion as the only child with special needs anyway. As there are four persons working in the group we donīt consider this dramatic. As long as Elias is cared for by people having an eye on his special development and his personality we donīt think that a formal qualification in special education is needed at the present moment.
Concerning speech elias is going on well in his development although two-word-sentences like cited above are rather rare. But he is able to communicate well by words as well as signs. Another relative strength are his fine motor skills. Recently he is making big fantasy buildings of duplo blocks and he loves to hammer on his children work bench. He tries to eat with fork and knife and even is beginning to spread the butter onto his bread - more or less successful. It has become clear that - other than his siblings - he is right-handed.
Walking still proves to be difficult. Here Elias is handicapped by his low body stability. Additionally he is an extremely cautious little boy - Iīve never seen a child falling so few times during this stage of motor development - he is very successful in avoiding it. He is now able to stand up alone without holding to anything, to stand alone for a longer time, to walk held by one hand, even to go up to eight (this happened one time) steps alone... but mostly he is still crawling and we are patiently awaiting for him really walking around on his own.
Elias has become a self-confident little boy who knows what he wants and tries to achieve it. Especially he wants to do things alone and without help like every two-year-old. He is active and mostly happy and we hope he will stay as energetic, interested in everything and full of joy as he is now.