If you have a young child with special needs, don’t assume that your other children will be “fair” to the kids with special needs. They won’t. Especially not when they are teenagers.
You know how teenage boys love to torture sibling kid sisters? Well I don’t know what excuse Ricki’s brother (not telling you which one….) has, but he was being a real pest at the shabbas meals. Simply put, he was pestering Ricki no end, and was being entertained (as only male teens are….), by her reactions. He was not really listening to my protests (he kept changing tactics, doing the same type of things, but in new, creative ways. He only stopped when his two bothers told him that he was really going TOO far in tormenting her. But it was enlightening to hear Ricki giving him a “piece of her mind”. She was lecturing him in the same words, same tones, as any junior high student would use. But when she called him “mongol”, I told her off. I told her that ANY words meant as an insult, even if it is only “Gingi” (“redhead”), I don’t allow.
But this shows that somewhere she has heard the word, and hears it as an insult. I don’t know if she realizes that it is used as another name for Down syndrome. She also says sometimes, “YOU have Down syndrome”, meaning it as an insult.
So I sat her down this evening, as I have several times already, and told her that yes, she has Down syndrome, and yes she is different than others, just as EVERYBODY is different in SOMETHNG. I told her that Down syndrome is how G-d chose to make her, and that it is not bad, just different. She knows she has Down syndrome (as much as she denies it at times); I just hope that she can see it in a positive light. But that will mostly depend on factors well beyond my control.