I have so many posts to get up at the moment, but I feel that this interaction between a publishing company and myself needs to be shared with all of you. If you follow us on Facebook you may have seen this interaction take place. If you are not following us on Facebook, what are you waiting for?! Head on over and "like" Chasing Hazel's page, here.
Plus, it allows me an opportunity to mention a new series I am thinking about introducing on the blog. I would LOVE your feedback.
This new series would include:
A section all on its own dedicated to educating parents, teachers, children and anyone that may be interested about Down syndrome. Mainly, the goal will be to try and provide resources that are helpful for parents and teachers to educate other children about what it means to have Down syndrome.
What brought this on?
I have been noticing that children, even those that go to school with someone who has DS, tend to have questions about Hazel. Questions about why she looks different than them, or they wonder if she will ever learn to read and so on. It sparked some interest and concern as to what Hazel's peers REALLY know about Down syndrome. I decided that I would try to help in whatever way that I could. Admittedly, I did not know a great deal about Down syndrome before Hazel, aside from my own teaching experiences. So I can understand where that disconnect might occur.
I would say that the most important thing is to recognize each child as an individual. I think sometimes kids who go to school with other kids who have DS, think that ALL kids who have DS are the same. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Just as typically developing children all achieve goals when they are ready, or have unique strengths and weaknesses, so do children with DS. I hope that when Hazel goes to school, her peers understand that just because she might not be able to do the same things as them at that time, it doesn't mean she will NEVER learn to do it. Like all kids, kids with DS achieve goals at their own pace and when they are ready.
Recently, I was doing some research for online resources to add to this series. I came across a book called, "My Friend Has Down Syndrome." Great!!! Excited, I quickly wanted to read the description of the book. Needless to say I was very upset with what I found. It said:
"My Friend Has Down Syndrome describes a condition that affects many families. Younger children are normally puzzled when they encounter other kids who suffer from Down Syndrome. Here is a heartwarming and reassuring story of how an ordinary child comes to understand and befriend another child who has Down Syndrome."
Immediately, I emailed the publisher to express my concern for such a negative and inaccurate statement about children and families with DS. This description was on all websites that sell this book (big names). I felt it was sending a VERY false message to those looking to learn about DS and thought I would see what I could do.
The company was very apologetic and were also very willing to change the description right away. The new description for the book is now as follows:
My Friend Has Down Syndrome explores this common chromosomal condition from a child's perspective. Younger children may be confused and have many questions when they encounter kids who have Down syndrome. Here, in this reassuring story, two children, one with Down syndrome and one without, learn that they are both good at different things and that by helping each other overcome their fears and difficulties they can accomplish a great deal together.
So much better!!!
So really it is the small things, that contribute to the bigger issues that perpetuate stereotypes about Down syndrome. I was happy to try in one small little way to help society become more accepting of those who might be a little different. Can you please try to do the same. Chasing Hazel readers have always been so supportive and accepting of all that DS has to offer. Collectively, we need to try to reach those who do not know the beauty and blessings of DS. Please help Hazel by sharing this on your social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
So I am interested to hear what you all think? Please leave a comment and tell me if there is anything you would like me to add to this series, helpful resources you might have found or things you have noticed that you would like to see addressed. Please share with me how you educate your children. Perhaps, some ideas that have worked for you and your families.
Calling other Mamas!!!
Other mamas that have kids with DS, please feel free to weigh in here. I would love to hear from you! Do you think this is necessary? What would you like others to know about your children? If you don't feel comfy leaving a comment, you can always e-mail me.