Celebrate Our Differently-Abled Friends

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and this is a very special time as everyone celebrates the uniqueness all people bring to the table. So let’s celebrate our differently-abled friends, and understand more about how to talk with youth about the differences, but similarities those with Down Syndrome have to offer. Read on for some great Q & A for kids.

Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you in partnership with Trinity Health Systems.

First off what is Down Syndrome:
  • There are trillions of cells in the human body. They are so tiny you can only see them through a microscope. Inside these tiny cells are even tinier parts called chromosomes. Most people have 46 chromosomes in each of their cells.  People with Down syndrome have 47, and because of that they may look and learn differently.
Often times kids relate differences or illnesses by “catching it”. A person catches a virus, infection, etc. but does a person “catch Down Syndrome? It is important to make this distinction with any medical difference, as a youth does not understand.
  • A person cannot “catch” Down syndrome; everyone who has Down syndrome was born with it and will always have it. Down syndrome affects people from all around the world, and both boys and girls can be born with it
Do kids with Down Syndrome like the same things as other kids?
  • Yes! When you get to know someone with Down syndrome, someone will find that they have unique personalities and interests, just like everyone else!  If they want to, they can be on sports teams, make art, play instruments, and join clubs at school. They want to have fun and make new friends as all kids do. In fact, these may be great ways for children to meet each other and build lifelong friendships.
Kids can be curious, so they may ask why is it called Down Syndrome?
  • Down syndrome was first studied and described by a doctor named John Langdon Down.
Can kids with Down Syndrome go to school?
  • Yes! Some may go to special schools, and others may take special classes, but many are also part of classrooms with other students who don’t have Down syndrome. They may need extra time to do their work, but they can learn the same skills as their classmates.
Are people with Down Syndrome always happy?
  • No! Those with Down Syndrome experience the same types of emotions as everyone else does. They can feel sad, tired, hurt, or upset.

These are just a few questions kids may ask as parents start introducing them to differently-abled friends. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it is vital for everyone’s sake to learn about everyone’s unique abilities early in life.

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