Is Water Fascination a True Trait of Angelman Syndrome?
Ask an Angel’s parent if their kid loves water and you may not get the answer you expect. Do most children love water? Probably. Are all Angels fascinated with water? Perhaps.
My 11-year-old daughter, Juliana, is one of those Angels who love water play. Shortly after her diagnosis, I read so much about Angels and their connection to water. Now, I find fewer of these articles and little clinical data to support this theory.
Did I imagine that?
It really got me wondering if I have imagined Juliana’s water fascination or created it from some expectation of what I thought was true.
And then, you know what? I decided I didn’t care.
As a parent, it can become easy to rely on what the experts say when we can simply look to our kids for answers.
I don’t ever want to overlook my child’s interest because of what the data do or don’t say. Even with my 9-year-old daughter, Jessa, I try not to deal in generalities.
Splashing at any cost
I can’t say if all Angels love water. But I can attest that Juliana does.
So, we capitalize on this interest and use it as much as possible. She also likes music and loves to dance. Give Juliana music and water and she’s set up for a great day.
I love this abstract of a study published in the Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability about Angels’ fascination with water that stresses the importance of incorporating water-related activities into an Angel’s day. What do you know? We’ve been doing this without any professional prompting.
Incorporating water into Juliana’s day may not always be possible, but I like it when we can do it. During a recent home improvement project, I used water to keep Juliana content while I worked.
We have a simple inflatable splash pool, and when we can’t make it to a swimming pool, Juliana gets to enjoy an afternoon of splashing. The splash pool has become a regular part of our summer days.
Last year I panicked when our pool ripped and we couldn’t find a replacement online or in stores. During COVID-19, people bought out toilet paper and, to my horrid discovery, splash pools. Luckily, some very strong waterproof tape saved our backyard water adventures.
I think water will fix that
I take this water enjoyment for all that it provides. It gives Juliana something special that makes her happy. It gives me a quick way to soothe her.
Once when Juliana was sick and inconsolable, I got the bright idea to head to the bathtub. I ran a bath with bubbles and lavender oil for some extra soothing. I sat right next to her for hours as she played and splashed. There was a terrible mess of water everywhere, but I didn’t care. It made her feel better and she was calmer when she got out.
We’ve learned to incorporate water into our vacations too. Our preferred destination is the beach. When we’re at the beach, Jessa might swim or bury herself in the sand. Juliana is content to sit at the water’s edge and let the waves roll over her. It makes for such a great time.
As fascinated as Juliana is with playing in water, this doesn’t seem to translate to drinking it, or simply seeing it. A recent trip to the aquarium was challenging when I realized that looking at the water isn’t as exciting for her as being in the water. She wants to frolic in it and I can’t blame her.
There’s no real understanding of why some Angels love the water. However, we don’t always need an explanation of things to appreciate them. I’m happy for this obsession with or without the numbers that support its truth.
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