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Becoming a Ballerina

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 in Down Syndrome, Motherhood, The Fam

Whitney had ballet class yesterday…and I welled up with pride for my little girl.  It went so well for her compared to her first session (almost a year ago, now).   For almost the entire 45 minutes she participated best as she could following what everyone else was doing.  There was a brief break where she was distracted by her own beautiful reflection and was licking the mirror (ugh! babygirl! so gross and embarrassing!) and another brief break where she was trying to operate the sound system.  But seriously, that was maybe a total of 5 minutes of distraction and she was doing her own version of twirling and reaching and pointing along with everyone else.  I am proud. I am hopeful.

This class is at the YMCA, has a wide range of ages (3-8!) and abilities (mostly typically developing children as far as I can tell), and a very mild-mannered soft-spoken teacher who uses real ballet language (way more than just plie) and is teaching/demonstrating real ballet moves the whole time.

Things to work on:

  • Asking the teacher not to let her lick the mirror or touch the CD’s – if you wouldn’t let another kid in the class get away with it, don’t let Whitney.
  • Whitney’s response to “What’s your name” – for some reason, she misses this question most times when it’s asked.  She knows her name, she can say it, and even spell it, but for some reason she doesn’t queue in to when people are asking her.  I think we just need to practice a lot more (with more than just Mommy and Daddy asking).
  • Moaning/Humming.  This is a bigger subject than just in ballet, and probably deserves a blog post of its own at some point (along with some research and intervention of some sort), but Whitney is often making moaning/humming sounds, especially when she’s eating, excited, or concentrating.  I think it’s similar to stuttering – she doesn’t realize she’s doing it most of the time, and if she breathed more consistently maybe it would help her control it…but she moans quite often and it can be distracting or even irritating to those around her.  No one in the class said anything, but I was sitting at the side of the room noticing it and wishing she would stop.

All in all, ballet round 2 is looking like a great thing for Whitney!  I had meant to continue the lessons since our first session last year, but kept having excuses not to sign up.  I’m glad we’re back on. Now, to get a proper ballet outfit and bun going!

ballet2 IMG_7354

She could take classes all day and I’m pretty sure she’ll always be up for a dancing at home with her brother.  They don’t always get along perfectly, but they sure do love each other.  On Tuesday we were getting ready for school and Dylan says without prompting “Whitney, I think you’re beautiful” – melts my heart.



  1. Love this post. Your little ballerina is so beautiful. Everything you write about your kids is inspirational and also completely real. thank you.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Stephanie!

  2. My heart warms and fills with positive when I read your blog. I remember Whitney as a babe, as I held my own lil’ one with Down Syndrome. I can hardly believe they are already 4.

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