Thursday, October 9, 2014

Claire's Big Day! Talking To Students About Down Syndrome

Today Claire and I talked to her second grade class about Down Syndrome. 

It went so well! Her classmates were attentive and interested the entire time!  I was very impressed. 

The main idea I wanted to get across was Claire is just like you so when I introduced Nate (Dad), Alice (little sister) and Myself I said "do any of you have a brother or a sister?"  Most of them raised their hands.  "Wow, you are just like Claire!"  Alice was very happy to be included too. 

Claire talked about herself.  She used these flash cards and did a great job!  I have a video of her practicing but my blogger page doesn't want to post it.  (If someone has advice I'll get it up.) 

She said "I like Doc Mic Stuffines.  I like horse back riding.  I love playing on the monkey bars outside!  "I wear glasses. "I like school." "I like the Down Syndrome walk." Yeah Claire!  She was so happy to talk to her class but not too excited that she forgot what to do.  She is such a big girl.  

Next I gave a little talk about Claire and Down Syndrome.  I had flashcard too:

-Claire is just like you!  We all have different things about us.  Some of us like the Seahawks (big smiles because it was sports day), some of us like to draw...  I was born with blue eye and you (student in front of me) were born with brown eyes.  Something Claire was born with is Down Syndrome. 

-Claire works really hard to practice the same things you learn.  When she goes to Mrs. T's class she works so hard, like how you would practice a sport if you want to get good at it.  Claire works so hard. 

-It's hard for kids with Down Syndrome to talk.  It would be like really, really, really wanting to say something and having marshmallows in your mouth.  It would be hard for someone to understand you even though you really wanted to talk.  

-It's hard for people with Down Syndrome to do things with their hands.  It would be like trying to write your name with socks on your hands.  We will try to do that at the end. 

-Claire is a kid just like you.

-If you don't understand what Claire is saying or doing you can ask a grownup for help.  She really wants to talk to you.  You can also ask her to say it again. 

-Claire might need some extra time to do things but she can do it.  It would be hard to open your backpack and get your folder out with socks on your hands right?  Something I do to remember to wait for her is count to 10 in my head.  When I get to 10 she usually can do it. 

- Did you notice Claire asks "what is your name?" a lot? (they all agree)  She really wants to talk to you.  If she asks the same question over and over you could help her learn a new questions by asking her something else like "what do you want to do at recess today?" 

-Claire likes to give hugs (they all shake their heads and smile).  It's fun to get hugs sometimes but if you don't want a hug you can tell her "no thank you" or "Claire, I do not want a hug right now".

We passed out socks and had the students fill out their work books with "Down Syndrome on." 

This was my favorite part!  

Nate and I walked around the class helping the students.  It was a great opportunity to talk to them about Claire.  Claire also walked around talking to her classmates about her dog, Olive and her favorite movies.

It was challenging to write and turn the pages with socks on their hands but they kept the socks on.  One little girl said "This is so hard.  It must be hard for Claire because she can't ever take the Down Syndrome off." 

While we were working a boy said "it's so hard to talk with food in your mouth.  That must be frustrating." 

Another girl told Nate "I didn't know but Claire is a lot like me.  I love all these movies too!" 

One student was so excited to have Claire's phone number so she could get together for a play date soon. 

The class thanked us and clapped a "round of applause" for Claire at the end.  

It was totally worth the effort that want into doing this!  Claire's teacher was so supportive and excited for us to come.  The kids seemed to really understand what we were talking about.  I'm glad they will take their books home and hopefully share with their families about Down Syndrome.  They really love Claire.  It was neat to see her in her class.  She knows most of their names and had cute conversations and interactions with them.  A few girls are very motherly to her and wanted to help her with her morning tasks.  What a good day! 

P.S. To make the books I just stapled together regular printer paper and bound it with a piece or card stock by glueing a 2 1/2 inch strip on. 

I made a color copy for the class library and put the pages in plastic protectors. 

Let me know if you would like me to e-mail you the word document at 

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