February 21, 2012


When you have a baby with Down syndrome, you are automatically welcomed in to this amazing community of people.  There is a ton of support and families more than happy to answer any question you may have.  As my buddy has grown, I've noticed there are some pretty polarizing topics within the community.  I'm still forming my opinions but there are some views I have that I'm sure many others don't agree with.

My buddy is different from other kids.  Sure he's just a child learning how to make his way in this world and he does things that every other kid out there does.  I've had a hard time putting into words how he is different.  I think the only way to describe it is most typical kids have a certain order that they reach each milestone.  My buddy reaches milestones haphazardly.  He'll reach a physical one right on target while a cognitive milestone will be months to come, for example.

This haphazardness coupled with the huge lack of impulse control can lead to safety issues.  My buddy at the age of 3 has to be locked into his room every night.  His room only has a mattress on the floor, a dresser bolted to the wall with drawer locks and no knobs, and a few soft toys.  My buddy gets locked in there while I shower as well because it's not safe to have him in the rest of the house unsupervised.  We have many years ahead of us before he can walk along with me in the grocery store or play in the yard without me right there. 

Even though my buddy is different it is OK with me.  I don't feel like I need to pretend he is something that he is not.  Just like it is OK that monkey bear is super shy and won't talk to her peers.  It's all a part of who they are.

I have mixed emotions about inclusion.  I love the fact that my buddy is lucky enough to be included at school and given the opportunity to make friends with lots of different people.  I just don't think I believe in inclusion at all costs.  I wouldn't expect monkey bear to be in Advanced Algebra if she wasn't able to understand the concepts and learn.  I would find a math class that was more appropriate for her ability.  If my buddy understands Algebra and enjoys it then all the more power to him. But if being in a special ed class that teaches him how to balance a checkbook is more appropriate than so be it.  Whatever his ability may be is fine with me. 

Let's face it.  We all make friends with people who are like us.  I don't have friends who are Harvard educated rocket scientists nor do I have friends who are intellectually disabled.  I want my buddy to make lifelong friends with anyone that appreciates who he is.

I think the most important thing we can do for all our children is to encourage them to push themselves and be the best they can be while honestly accepting who they are.

No comments:

Post a Comment