Copyright © 2012, Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time. One of the things that happens when you have a new family member with Down syndrome is that you want to do something–anything–to make it better and you don’t know what to do. Are you going to reach in and remove 33% of the 21 chromosome in every cell? No. At least not yet. Are you going to send the parents a copy of Welcome to Holland?
Instead, I’m going to offer you a dozen things over the next year that you as relatives or parents can do for your new family member with Down syndrome. These are all crafty things and most of them are easy (if not trivial), cheap, and effective if used consistently. Many of these were suggested by our case worker or physical therapist from our local Early Intervention program and we either refined them or expanded on them. After the first year, our case worker said, “when are you going to write the book?” For years now, my inability to find or make acceptable illustrations has stopped me. At this point, I’m giving up on that and will be drawing things on my own.
One thing to keep in mind is that the best tools are worthless if they’re not used consistently, so before you launch on a weekend binge of making them all, make sure you talk to the parents and the EI staff to see if what you’re making makes sense for this child.
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