Monday, 29 August 2011

A New Chapter...Teaching other kids about Down Syndrome.

Ellie has started 1st grade.  This was a huge thing in our home.  Preschool and Kindergarten were not such a big deal but this really has been hard on Mom.  It is weird to think she will be gone all day. Eating lunch with the other kids and going to recess without me.  One thing I did if Kindergarten to help me feel better was demonstrate to the kids what it is like to have Down Syndrome and explain to them a little more about Ellie and Down Syndrome. 

I found a wed site that had some great tips on how to teach about Down Syndrome.  It was a lot of help.  When I went I first had the kids all point out ways that we are the same.  Two eyes, two ears, legs and so one.  Then i had them point out ways we are different, Color of hair, color of eyes, color of skin, all brothers, no siblings, and so on.  Then we talked about Chromosomes.  I explained that Ellie was given one more.  This made her a little different.  We talked about the things that make Ellie different.  Then we talked about the things that are the same.  I told them she loves Hannah Montana and barbies.  I explained how she has feelings and they get hurt just like yours do.  It was actually really great.  We did an activity where each child put a marshmallow in their mouth and tried to talk.  It was hard for them to do and afterwards we talked about how talking is harder for Ellie just like it was with the marshmallow.  I had them lift a weight with one hand and the other had was free.  This showed them how moving is harder for Ellie.  I had them put a glove on and try and write.  This helped them see that writing is harder.  I explained that some things are really hard for Ellie to do but she tries hard everyday.  I also explained that some things are really easy for Ellie.  She is very flexible so I had her show them that she can pull her leg up.  They thought this was cool.  I also told them that LOVE is very easy for Ellie.  She has the ability to love beyond measure.  They also thought this was awesome.  When we were done I had the kids ask question or give comments.  One of the kids told me that they learned that Ellie is a really good friend.  This melted my heart.  It was a great experience.  It really helped the kids understand that she would need them to help her and be kind to her.  The school year went really well and Ellie had a lot of kids that were her friends.  

I wanted to share this with you in case you were searching for something to help teach about children about Down Syndrome.  I found this AWESOME coloring bookthat explains Down Syndrome.  I had the kids take it home and teach their families about Down Syndrome.  I had a mother tell me that she actually learned from the coloring book.  Another parent told me that her child was so excited to come home and teach her parents something they didn't know.  It was a really positive experience.  I am just about to go and do it again in her 1st grade class.  I know it helped last year.  I sure hope it is good this year.