They’d been going to the Buddy Walk for years, she said. They’d participated in conferences, and had been active in the Down Syndrome community. But even while they spent time with lots of other folks with Down Syndrome, they’d never really said out loud to Jessie that she had it too.
When they finally told her, her mom said, her response was, “Wait, so I’m like [this person we know] and [that person we know]???”
Her mom affirmed that yes, she was indeed just like them. And Jessie said, “AWESOME!”
I’ve been asked a thousand times how to tell our kids about their disabilities. This is how.
I normally don’t share posts from nondisabled parents of disabled children on my blog. I try hard to center the voices of disabled people that are too often drowned out by the voices of professed allies. However, I’m going to make an exception for Diary of a Mom, one of the most enlightened parent blogs I’ve seen. The writer has two daughters, one of whom is autistic, and describes herself as an intersectional advocate. Her posts reflect a humble understanding of what a healthy disability identity is, and what her role is as a parent and an ally.
Parents often wonder how to break it to their children that they have a disability. They may anticipate a variety of negative reactions to the news, or they may worry about their own emotions getting in the way of how they frame disability to their children. As this post illustrates, when parents expose their kids to positive role models early and often, the conversation can be a strong disability identity in the making.
To learn more from the perspective of a great parent ally, I encourage you to browse some of Diary’s other posts after you read this one.