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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

The Gifts Outreach program provides complimentary copies of Gifts to organizations which serve parents facing a new diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child, either prenatally or postnatally. We believe that the stories in the book provide a vital companionship and support for such parents.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Talking with Your Child's Peers about Tri21- Get it Down 31 for 21: Post 9

Get It Down; 31 for 21

On a side note, Happy 8th Anniversary Big Dawg! I love you!

Last week I talked to Nash's class about October being Down syndrome Awareness Month, and I talked about "differences" (red hair, blond hair, blue eyes, brown eyes) and Down syndrome, but these guys are getting too smart. I asked questions and got "Why is it called Down syndrome"...first grade. And Nash's aide didn't even know!

So my bud Nicole had her annual talk to her daughter's class today, and had difficulty as her daughter is so, so perceptive, and got upset about some of the questions of "Why can T do _____" over and over... So Nicole, being the wise mommy, asked our friend Dave at Chewing the Fat for some pointers for her next talk about Down syndrome to our childrens' class. Here are his tips. Thank you Dave.

Getting Ready

I know you've done this talk often but I wonder how much you involve Tarenne in the preparation. Sitting down with her and going over what you're doing, asking her permission to share things, preparing her for the questions that might be asked, giving her a way to be involved -

Once There

Whenever I do a session for people with disabilities I lay out a couple of ground rules. You could do that for question time ...

Rule One: Ask question about ability.

Rule Two: Try to avoid using the word 'can't' or 'won't' in your question.

Alternately, have a bucket with pre-prepared questions, the one's you've always hoped they'd ask and have them pull them out and ask the question. (I use this all the time.)

You may well have other ideas ...

You already know from my blog, I remember you commenting, that I don't like the 'write a sentence with the wrong hand' kind of thing because it focus' on disability and feeling sorry for someone rather than identifying with the struggle. Why not ask them questions like

how many have trouble with fractions?

how many can't spell worth a darn?

how many can't draw?

Every time they put their hands up ask ... does that stop you from laughing, from running, from playing ... no, it's just having difficulty with learning. That's all Down Syndrome is, it makes it harder to learn


~Melissa~ said...

What wonderful advice! I'm saving this :)

Happy Anniversary!