Wednesday, October 5, 2016

{31 for 21} What to Tell Your Kids.

"What do you want other parents to tell their kids about Ellie?"

I love this question.  

Most of the questions about Ellie tend to be...

* Why does she look like that?  (Meaning different in some way kids can't quite explain.)

* Is she a baby?  (She's small.  Really small.  And needs extra help.)

* Why can't I understand her?

* Why does she look like ____?  (The other student in her class with Down syndrome, who also happens to wear glasses and be white.)

My answers to these and more:

Ellie has something called Down syndrome.  There are little tiny pieces of your body that tell your body who you are - what you look like, what to do.  Ellie has a little extra of these things called chromosomes.  (Obviously, this depends on age.)

Ellie was born with Down syndrome.  She had it while she was in her mommy's belly and she will have it her whole life.  You can't catch Down syndrome or get rid of it - either you were born with it or you weren't.  Ellie was born with it.

People with Down syndrome can look a little like each other and like their families, too.  A lot of kids with Down syndrome are kind of short and wear glasses like Ellie.  Ellie also looks a little like her sister.  

If you have Down syndrome, some things are harder.  Your muscles aren't ready all the time, so everything using muscles takes extra work.  And a LOT of things use muscles!  Talking, walking, running, writing... those things all take Ellie more work.  People with Down syndrome are also really flexible, so at gymnastics, things like straddles take Ellie LESS work.

Ellie might need extra help with some things and she can give extra help with some things, especially helping if someone is sad or hurt.  She helps take care of her baby sister, too.

Even though Ellie is little, if you help her, remember she's not a baby.  It makes her mad if you think she's a baby and she doesn't always have the words to explain that.

Ellie is also fun to play with.  She likes to play on the slide and read books and dress up with accessories.  She likes American Girl dolls and dance parties.
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