Meet Mylo Dean Collard...
Trying to distill into words the magnitude of the individual I am introducing you too on this page is no small task. I feel honored and more than a little excited. For me he is one of the most powerful people I have ever met, a statement that I realize is not without inherent contradictions since he is disabled and a child -- specifically my child, so be sure to factor in some personal bias :)
When I had Mylo I was confronted by my own inexperience with the intellectually disabled. Like most of us, I didn't know how to relate to someone with ID for the obvious reason that people with special needs are uncommon. There are far more typical people in the world out and about, so most of us never get an opportunity to know someone like Mylo. It is my hope to change that by providing you with a passport to the foreign land of Mylopia. With any luck, your sightseeing on these pages here will cultivate an appreciation for the many gifts that people like Mylo bring to the world.
The first thing that I can say about Mylo is that he has a husky voice which has been there from the beginning. People often comment when they meet him that he seems like a little old man. In this way, Mylo seems simultaneously ancient and eternally young. According to Human Design, Mylo is a manifestor, which is probably why the first thing I told you about Mylo was the sound of his voice.
Technically, a manifestor is anyone who has a defined throat center connected to a motor and an undefined sacral center. Their energy is dense, designed to push people out of their way, and other people can often feel repelled or intimidated by this energy. Characteristically, manifestors are impulsive, spontaneous, and designed to wait for no one when it comes to putting their energy into action. In this way manifestors are very compelling, especially when they are vocally expressive about what they want to do. Fundamentally, Mylo pursues his joy and rages against his discomforts. In this respect he is a simple creature.
Nevertheless, manifestor children in general can be particularly challenging because they do not know how to ask permission -- their fundamental energy needs no permission when it comes to their self expression: they just get up and go. This is certainly how Mylo expresses himself. When combined with his ID, Mylo has a hard time seeing the consequences lurking on the other side of his impulses. Being emotionally defined in the motor of his solar plexus, Mylo is driven to express his feelings and desires at all times. Whatever he wants to do, whatever he feels, it just comes charging out of him led by his voice and filled with emotion; like the time he ran headfirst into a cement pylon: he was simply too excited to open his eyes.
All the same, his happiness is his most powerful asset: it literally brings people joy to bring him joy. His frailty is an asset too, because everywhere he goes he inspires the protection of others and brings out the best in all of us. Nevertheless, on the opposite end of this spectrum you have despair. Mylo makes sure we all know how he is feeling at all times.
Another interesting piece of Mylo's design is his definition in gate 46, otherwise known as "Heaven's Gate." This gate is part of the channel of "succeeding where other's fail." The 46th gate is about success, being in the right place at the right time -- being in the right body at the right time. Because all channels contain polarities between gates to motivate the flow of energy, the 29th gate on the other end of the channel is conversely called "the Deep," and functions as a deep energy tap into the life force of the sacral motor. The 29 is the gate of "saying yes" to projects, obligations, individuals, etc... and offering up energy even when you don't have it to give -- like dumping your fuel into space and getting nowhere in the process. For this reason the 29th gate carries a signature of failure. Operating together though, the 29th gate siphons extreme energetic fuel from the sacral well up to power the "success" of the 46th gate.
This is the nature of my electromagnetic connection with my son -- together we succeed because he is in the right body, right place, and he has the deep well of my energetic resources to support his many needs.
At this point it seems appropriate to discuss Mylo's body and his needs, as they are central to his current incarnation experience. Mylo has Down syndrome, Type 1 Diabetes, Specific Antibody Deficiency, and a few other auto-immune issues. Not all individuals with Down syndrome carry the diagnosis of Mentally Retarded, but Mylo has MR too. As a parent, MR is a challenging diagnosis to wrap your head around, because everyone wants their child to be a rock star who conquers the world, discovers new planets, and cures the common cold. Once I realized that an MR diagnosis also comes with increased treatments, supports and services, I was happy to put aside my pride and accept the clinical terminology that gets Mylo the care he needs. And the truth is, being mentally retarded doesn't make anyone less of a person. Often times it makes them more interesting -- we just have little experience with relating.
People with Down Syndrome come in all shapes and sizes, just like everyone else. They have the same spectrum of personality and interests and intelligence and creativity as the rest of us typical people. However people with DS have a greater chance of having medical issues to contend with, specifically malformations of the heart of GI tract, the latter of which was true for Mylo.
During the first nine months of Mylo's life, he had four surgeries.
For years we have had ABA behavior intervention here in the home, and the first thing I was taught as a parent was to speak in simple direct phrases and give Mylo "alpha commands." An example would be, "put your spoon in the bowl" or "pick up your toys." These statements are not suggestions, and for someone like Mylo who has developmental delays, they provide clear instruction about what needs to happen next. As a result of being spoken to in this way while his language has been developing, Mylo has learned to speak to others with alpha commands -- so he basically tells other people what he wants them to do all day long. He tells us to sing, he tells us to dance, he tells us to cuddle, read a book, or build a city -- and because these statements are infused with joy, Mylo's desires are very, very difficult to resist. People cannot help but comply, because it obviously makes him happy when they do so. This is how a manifestor manifests!
As a parent, its been a fascinating puzzle figuring out how to resist his manifesting powers, motivate him, and harness his drive into compliance when it's time to practice discipline. The main tactic I have used is the bargaining powers of "first/then," which has been brilliant.
First you do something I want, then we do something you want.
The trick is knowing what Mylo wants. Mylo's favorite activities include singing, dancing, playing his harmonica, being told stories (in which he imagines himself as both central and supporting characters), consuming children's programming, playing games, running outside, and building/making things: legos, cities, farms, theatrical productions, craft projects. He has a lot of creative energy coursing through his veins, and like most kids he finds fantasy in all forms and the retelling of past experiences very entertaining.
Drawing has been a special area of interest, because while has been slow to develop the tactile coordination to manipulate a writing utensil to produce an image -- he is happy to have other people to draw for him, and derives great satisfaction from witnessing and directing their efforts. He often participates in these drawings too, making them truly collaborative works. Sometimes his contributions can look like he is trying to "scratch out" what has been drawn, but this is really his own way of showing affection for a certain image -- I tend to think he is imagining that he is drawing the picture that he likes by drawing on it.
And if he really likes a picture, he tears it up! His dad thinks Mylo is trying to turn his favorite images into puzzles. I think it has something to do with his fascination for that particular piece of paper, and a secondary impulse to create stimulus with that object -- anything that he really likes
Take for example, Mylo's car wash series: