The Inclusive Class Podcast interviewed me on how we introduced Sean to his classmates in first grade. Listen to the Podcast here:
I want to encourage you to create a personalized book about your child that their teacher can read to their class this fall. You are welcome to use ‘My Name is Sean and I Have Something to Share’ as a template, and include the information in the back of the book about Inclusive Education. Ask your child’s teacher to read it to the class, then send it home with each student–and a note asking the parents to read it to their children…but first they should read the end of the book about inclusion and about the child’s diagnosis (include a fact sheet on their disability) so the parents are prepared for questions their child may ask.
There were two big fears children had about Sean…first–because his speech was so delayed he would touch the kids to get their attention. I would see kids pull back when he did hat so that text reads, “Sometimes I forget to use my words and I might touch you to get your attention. It’s ok to tell me ‘hands to self’ and remind me to ‘use my words.’ Second they were afraid they could ‘catch’ Down syndrome…like a cold. Once we addressed those two concerns, AND the fact that he had a book written about him, (even though it was home-made on the computer) he became an instant celebrity.
Introduce your child…Sean was the first person with Down syndrome I had ever met, and I always assumed he would be the first person with DS that others would meet, so I tried to remove the fears of the unknown as much as possible.