Hands up if you love someone with Down syndrome — or if you have friend with Down syndrome. Talia does. In the autism community we say, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” In the same way, if you’ve met one person with Down syndrome, you’ve met one person with Down syndrome.
In her book, Down Syndrome Parenting 101 (Woodbine House 2011) author Natalie Hale writes: “Look around you at the general population. What you see there is what you’ll see in Down syndrome: from brazen to shy, hilarious to serious, handsome to plain, social to solitary.”
Yup — my daughter knows that. One of her buddies with DS is an accomplished swimmer. Another girl is a talented singer. And one friend owns a business selling her own hand-knitted creations. Some people we know with DS need more intensive help with learning, self-help skills and life skills. Some have autism, or other special needs, in addition to Down syndrome.
In honour of World Down Syndrome Day, I’d like to highlight Hale’s latest book. Not only is she the mother of an adult son with Down syndrome, but she’s also the author of books on teaching reading, math and money skills to people with special needs. (In fact, we’re using her book about money management as a teaching tool at home.)
Weaving in personal experience and other people’s stories, Hale offers advice on everything from motivating kids to do chores to teaching bus skills. Best of all, Hale’s writing is warm, engaging and entertaining. Read it when you need a boost, a dose of optimism and advice from a wise friend.