Posted by: Susan | October 5, 2010

Self talk………it’s a good thing!

Google self talk and down syndrome and you get 261,000 sites to choose from.  A lot has been written on the subject but I have my personal take on this subject.  Another ‘aha’ moment that I need to share with you my dear readers.  First self talk is not to be confused with talking to  yourself.  This is not walking down the street muttering. My kids don’t do that.  This is a very useful tool that seems to start around puberty.  I speak from the experience of having 3 kids with DS either just through puberty, in the middle of puberty or just starting puberty.   I first noticed it in April.  She would go into the bathroom,close the door and talk about a problem, while looking in the mirror, and come up with a way to solve that problem.  See what I mean-self talk.  Next I experienced it with Jake either in the bathroom or in the basement.  This is done in private.  It is a way to figure things out.  OK, so maybe I listened at the door.  Now I have noticed that Sam has started it too.  Here is the funny thing.  It seems slow down as they get older.  April rarely uses self talk anymore. 

Fast forward to Sunday at the Cincinnati Reds baseball game.  We had snagged 5 free tickets and I was very excited.  I had never been to the Great American Ballpark.  We were in Section 513, row A, seats 12-16.  First we took an escalator up and up and up.  Did I mention we were going up.  We found our seats in the nose bleed section.  Here was the problem.  We were in the front row with plexiglass used as a way to keep us from falling into the section way below us.  We squeezed past some fans to get to our seats.  I am not kidding, we had to shuffle in sideways. I am tall and most of my body is above that darn plexiglass making my center of gravity just right for dropping like a lead weight over the side if I got off-balance at all.  I sat in my seat, leaned back as far as I could from the edge and started with the self talk.  First thought.  I can wait out the game in that nice enclosed area where they sell the food.  No, the game is too long.  I could talk everyone into leaving early saying I was sick.  No, everyone else is fine.  I can just not get out of this seat for the entire game.  Yes, that is what I will do.  Put my mind elsewhere and not move a muscle.  Just then Jim asked me if I wanted a beer.  I answered every so sweetly- no thank you.  All the while self talk going on.  You must be crazy if you think I will drink a beer and risk my life to get out and go to the bathroom. It’s that whole center of gravity thing going on when I get up only this time with a beer inside me. Not good.  More self talk, you’re going to be fine Susan, breathe deeply, focus on the game, the big screen, the music, the river, the Kiss Cam anything but that plexiglass and the fall into the stands below.  I finally relaxed and was able to enjoy the game.  I didn’t dance and sway to the music and get up and cheer like I would normally do.  But I made it to the end of the game and back out to solid ground.  I did not get up once during the game.  I restricted all liquid intake.  Self talk had helped me find a solution to my problem.  The only difference between what I did and what my kids do is that I do it in my head and they do it out loud. Aha moment!!!!!!!!!  Thinking to yourself  is an acquired skill just like reading to yourself.  We want our kids to read silently after all they have ever done is read out loud to us.  We want our kids to think silently after we have talked and talked and talked to them for years out loud and wanted answers out loud.  It takes time to learn.  April seems to have this mastered.  Stayed tuned for what happens as the boys get older.

Self talk- a great coping skill.  Note to self.  Never sit in that section again.  Pay the bucks and get those seats down low.


  1. A laugh out loud post—I’m glad you made it through Susan. I would have gone for the beer 🙂

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