Thomas Updates

2009

Thomas turned four in October, and the pace of his days has stepped up considerably with the addition of a private preschool schedule to his public one. He receives intensive communication therapy through The Elizabeth Academy‘s amazing Montessori readiness program, then heads to the local elementary school’s inclusive classroom for more fun with his peeps. Thankfully, he still has lots of time at home to pursue his favorite activities: pushing buttons (toys, telephones, doorbells), slamming doors (cabinet, dryer, bedroom), and banging lids (toilet and pot). His talent for spinning saucepan lids mesmerizes audiences and, we believe, guarantees him an illustrious future career. Recently diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Delay-Not Otherwise Specified (PPD-NOS), an autism spectrum disorder, in addition to his Trisomy 21 and auditory processing disorder), Thomas registers zero concern for his multiple disabilities and focuses instead on creating funky rhythms on the electronic keyboard. He creates his own Twilight Zone by consistently displaying clear knowledge of the alphabet, numbers, phonics, and basic shapes while adamantly refusing to speak a single word.

2008

320-thomas1 Once a chubby little baby with a big yell, Thomas is now a smooth-bellied, highly opinionated preschooler. His prime mode of transportation has transformed from wriggling to crawling to walking, and his shoes are his favorite possessions. He still loves rocking out to music, and ignores TV to tune in to his favorite CDs. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to watching him disappear down the street on the big yellow school bus, but he seems to enjoy the change in scenery a few hours per week. Thomas remains the highlight of the family, and while his determined ways can be exasperating, his humor, tenderness, and charm endear him to us all.

Read more about Thomas in my blog entries.

“Deeply honest, extremely moving, and lovingly written.”

--Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus With My Sister

With six other children at home, Kathryn Lynard Soper was prepared for the challenges another newborn would bring. But after Thomas's complicated birth, his diagnosis—Down syndrome—forced her to face her deepest fears and weaknesses, her ignorance and prejudice, and her limitations as a mother and as a human being. Her struggle, coupled with the demands of caring for a fragile baby and juggling her family's needs, sparked the worst episode of depression she'd experienced in decades.

The Year My Son and I Were Born is Soper's brutally honest yet beautiful account of how she escaped a downward spiral of despair and emerged with newfound peace. Antidepressant therapy restored her equilibrium, and interactions with friends and family brought needed perspective. But the most profound change came through her growing relationship with Thomas. His radiant presence shone through her outer layers of self, where fear and guilt festered, and reached the center of her very being—where love, acceptance, and gratitude blossomed in abundance.

What readers are saying:

"I started your book on the day that it arrived and finished it the same night before midnight. I shed so many tears along the way that my eyes were puffy the next day, but I was smiling and hopeful." --Mara

"The first part of your book truly ripped my heart open and left me utterly raw with grief. The second part of your book filled my heart with hope as I saw how you and your family adjusted to the changes in your family. It was a powerful, sobering, at many times heart wrenching and at the same time joyous account of your son's first year on earth." --Chris

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