jon & mom, eyebrows up copyI wrote a few months ago about how Jonathan’s discovery of Facebook messaging changed his ability to communicate.

It has also added a real-time spark to our relationship. Jonathan (32, Down syndrome) lives in Cincinnati where I raised him for 22 years and where he gets awesome benefits: he lives in his own apartment with a caregiver. He loves it there, and I love doing the work I do from a Los Angeles base.

Before Facebook messaging, he relied on my weekly phone calls and occasional Skypes (until he overloaded his computer and rendered it Skype-less). He never called unless he REALLY wanted something.

A few months ago, I wrote about how Jonathan discovered the existence of Facebook messaging. I had taught him to read when he was 5, and his high school teacher taught him to spell (thank you, Barbara!) so he’s equipped. Wowzer! He found out that he could communicate with me, his dad, his sister, and her husband. He went for it.

Sooooo proud of his Communication Control Center!

Sooooo proud of his Communication Control Center!

So here’s an UPDATE: Instead of messaging me several times a day talking about the music he would like me to buy for him 🙂 he’s gone into a new phase.

“So, Mom, what time you gotta have dinner? What you gotta do before tonight? What you gotta do after you finish work?” And on and on. It gives us the chance to have a running conversation through the day, at my convenience (he doesn’t complain if it takes me hours to respond), WITHOUT STUTTERING. Stuttering is his main difficulty in communicating verbally. But, by golly, he can sure type!!!

I love it. And just last week, he’s upped the game. Instead of “What you gotta do before supper?” he’s getting extremely specific, as in: “Mom, what you gotta do between 4:10 and 5:59?” Honest to Pete, that’s what he asked me.

So, I’m giving you just one more beautiful example of what it can eventually mean when we give our kids the gift of reading. Until the school systems catch up with how-to-teach-reading-effectively-to-our-kids, it’s the “Charge of the Mom Brigade” that’s running the show.


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