When Sean was in first grade I created a book on our computer to introduce him to his first grade classmates. We had encountered a few children who were afraid they could ‘catch’ Down syndrome, they couldn’t understand his words and and we also needed to enlist them to help Sean stop throwing rocks. Information is empowering and his teacher read the book to all four First Grade classrooms. Sean was an immediate celebrity, and the kids then understood how to communicate with him from the information contained in the book as well. As I wrote ‘Who’s the Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion’ I wrote about this book, and decided that it should be available. So I had it published as well. Now you can get one at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478729570
It will be available on BarnesandNoble.com soon as well. I also had read books like this to Sean when he was younger then would say, “You’re just like the boy in this book!” I used these books as a way to explain to Sean that he had Down syndrome so he would always ‘know’ and never have the day that he ‘learned’ of his Down syndrome. I don’t know who she was but a young woman had come onto our internet Down syndrome listserv and told us the story of her sister finding out from a social worker at age 14 that she had Down syndrome. She was very angry at her family for many years for not telling her first. Acceptance of oneself is critical to becoming a well balanced adult. And acceptance can only happen when you know what you need in the way of supports, and being able to communicate those needs.
Siblings can also learn from this book and it has many photos of Sean participating in sports and other activities he was active in during first grade. It truly shows that he is more alike than different!