Sunday, October 3, 2010

Teens and Down syndrome

As I have mentioned before (in reference to “would I cure her if I could?”), our teens change, and we continue to love them. (Even if they are, at times, a pain in the _______.) (Sorry!)
But I have terrible news for all you parents with cute little smiley kids with Down syndrome: they ALSO become teens. Really ornery, “I-hate-you-Mom” teens. Don’t think that they remain “little kids” forever. They don’t. They are NOT “perpetual children”. They are teens, and later, adults, with a limited intellect. And just as all teens strive for independence from their parents, and for respect as an adult, so do our growing teens with Down syndrome. But since they DO have an intellectual disability, that independence is harder to receive, and society as well treats them as children. This makes the fight much harder, that much more bitter, and therefore perhaps more rocky than with your average teen.

But the flip side is that a lot of things you may have been working on for ages suddenly “click”, and they really can learn to do an amazing amount of things. More than you ever dreamed when you were first told by the doctor that this precious child has Down syndrome.

4 comments:

Ruchi said...

i just have one question- do they ever grow out of throwing things out windows and running away? whendo they understand safety awareness?

rickismom said...

The last time ricki purposefully threw something valuable out the window was when she was about ten (see: http://beneaththewings.blogspot.com/2008/08/raining-paint-fisher-price-and-silver.html )She DOES throw trash, but that is due to a (supposedly "normal" family member who does the same (when I am not around).
Running away will usually stop before that, as long as there are definate "consequences" when she does run away.
Safety awareness is a constant problem, changing aspects as the child gets older. I would LIKE to be sure that Ricki would never go with a stranger, but I have my doubts. Education is emparitive and is an ongoing thing.

momsixtimes said...

Just found your site. I think you would like mine. I blog about my life with my 3 kids ages 22, 18, and 13 who all happen to have down syndrome. I will bookmark your blog and enjoy it daily. Susan

Lucia said...

I agree. I used to live in a small city with a considerable amount of adults with Downs Syndrome and other forms of limited intellect, and I have seen them been ornery teenagers and then become adults and progressively do great, have jobs, have their own apartments, and get around on the buses just fine. It was good to see that when I was living there. It showed me a different perspective than I used to have prior to living in that city. And really interesting to see and learn about as well. It taught me a lot about respect for people with limited intellect.