Explaining Down Syndrome to my child

We decided to go ahead and tell Alex that Mary has Down Syndrome. I admit, I was a bit nervous. What questions would he have? What would he think? I will tell you right now, I worried for nothing.

When I told him that his sister has Down Syndrome, he asked me what that was. I told him that she has an extra chromosome and that it may take her longer to learn to do some things, that she will need our help while she learns. I said that she may need help with her speech like he does. About half way through the conversation he stopped paying attention and went back to building his Legos. It was easy to see that he didn’t care about whatever Down Syndrome was, she was still his sister. We read “We’ll Paint the Octopus Red” to him at bedtime and he was happy to be getting a bed time story from Bryan.

I have a feeling that right now, the words Down Syndrome mean nothing to him. He just knows that he has a sister that he loves and wants to meet RIGHT NOW. I’m sure he will have questions down the line, and I hope that he comes to us with those questions. I want to make sure that he always knows that we all love him, that he is still my “best Alex in the world”, and that can always find us if he needs reassurance. One thing I do know though, is that he isn’t phased by hearing those words. Just wondering when he gets to meet her and if she is going to try to eat his Legos.

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