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(Posted February 16th 2016 @ 10:10 AM by: Melody Reever)
Q: What is Down Syndrome? I thought it was Down's Syndrome—with an “s” at the end.
A: A common error! Down Syndrome does not have an “s” at the end. It is a chromosomal disorder caused by an extra chromosome. It leads to impairments in cognitive ability and can cause developmental disabilities as well.
This doesn't stop a person with the syndrome from participating in church services. Join our Facebook group for more inspirational examples. Search for ABLE Ministry UPCI.
Q: I don't want to send my son to Sunday school. I am afraid that kids will make fun of him. What should I do?
A: Assuming your son is in school, I would speak to his Sunday school teachers and share his IEP (a personalized individualized education plan that details all of the supports that are needed at school) with them. Even if everything is not relevant, it will give the teacher ideas. It is also helpful to talk to the class about your child's disability and give them a safe place to ask questions. Often education eliminates bullies.
Some churches have "buddies" assigned to children in Sunday school to help them navigate the classroom. Other children require an adult's supervision. In some cases this support can be phased out as the child gains familiarity with the environment. In the perfect world, the support person would not be the parent, but someone the parent feels comfortable with or has personally trained.
It's true, kids can be mean; but it is also true they can be amazingly kind and true friends. For those of us caring for children with disabilities, it is not something we like to think about, but the church will be there long after we are gone. It is important to build relationships, a support system, and good experiences throughout your loved one’s lifetime!