Should I bring up differences or not?

Avatar for tnburke98
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Should I bring up differences or not?
3
Tue, 09-19-2006 - 2:40pm

My 3 1/2 year old son has a friend who is 4 and has down's syndrome. I haven't talked to my son about down's syndrome or the idea that they are different in anyway. We are going to go to a Buddy Walk to support down's syndrome this weekend and I don't know if my son will ask me any questions about any difference he might see. I know that he sees a difference between him and his friend because we saw a child on TV with down's syndrome and he said "look mommy, that's like Jack". Any tips or thoughts about how to field these types of questions? Should I just dismiss any questions or do into detail?

Thanks!

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Avatar for gregan301
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 09-19-2006 - 2:53pm

I have an almost 4 year old son, and a 1 year old daughter with Down Syndrome. We've never really talked about it with ds, but he hears the words Down Syndrome a lot, and he knows that she needs help with things, that she has therpaists, etc. But we don't talk about her being "different", just that she needs help with things he doesn't need help with.

If he comments on a lot of people being "like Jack", I would say, "yeah, there are a lot of people like Jack here" and I would then point out someone with T21 and "hey look - he's wearing a blue shirt like you are, or he has red hair like you do" so that he may see similarities between himself and someone with T21 and not focus on the differences. Of course, that's just me. I've only been at this for a year now, so other people may do things differently. I wouldn't dismiss his questions if he has them, I just might not encourage questions.

Good for you on doing the Buddy Walk! Ours is next weekend.

:)

Megan

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Avatar for tnburke98
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 09-19-2006 - 3:01pm

Those are great suggestions! I didn't want to dismiss any question but I just didn't know how to answer any question so he would understand.

Thank You!

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 09-21-2006 - 5:26pm

I think it is wonderful your son has a friend and is getting exposure to all sorts of people. It is a wonderful thing. He will notice the differences but for him it won't be a big huge deal. He will see the person first.

Though my kids are SN we also have had lots of folks we know with special needs. At a young age I likely wouldn't put a label on it either. I would address exactly the same way the other poster did. Yup they are like jack but also like you in this way. This way he will learn they are people first.

As he gets older and asks specific questions, particularly about some frustrations he may have you can say things like all people are different and everyone is good in some things and needs help in others. Jack needs help.....(learning to share, learning to talk..) but he is really great at..... We are always big on pointing out what everyone does that is good and special and part of them as a person. That way thier uniqueness and their personality is the important part and oh yeah, they have autism too or T21 too. It is just a part of who they are.

Renee

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