Monday, December 7, 2009

What to say...

In an earlier post I pondered what to tell young children about Down syndrome; as a four-year old was wondering why Aidan cried like a baby when he was three. His mom asked me what I would prefer and I told her I really didn't know what the right thing to say was. I indicated to be straight forward and honest - not making a huge deal. That if she accepts Aidan the way he is, then her son likely will too.

I had Aidan at the pediatrician's last week, and found out our regular doctor is on a mat leave, so we had a Locum (?) from Calgary. After visiting with us for a bit Doctor C told me that her younger sister also has Down syndrome. Can you believe it? I took the opportunity to ask her what she would say to the mom who wondered about how to explain Down syndrome, and her answer was very wise:

"Keep it simple. When a child asks how a car works - all they usually need/want to hear is that the motor makes it go. You don't have to go into pistons and fuel and all the nitty gritty. Usually they're happy with a simple answer. So, Aidan acts younger because he has Down syndrome. He's learning things on his own time."

Thanks Doctor C for the helpful advice - I'll use that next time the question comes up.

BTW - Aidan picked that hat himself. :o)

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