Adults with Special Needs

We went to the maple sugar bush this week as it was March Break for the kids. Part of the attraction of this particular sugar bush is the all-you-can-eat breakfast and the small farm they have with a pig, some sheep, a goat, a cow and some chickens.

Checking out the pig and goat

We headed out early on Thursday morning on a beautiful sunny day, with a temperature above freezing so we knew the sap would be running. First thing we did was get tickets for the breakfast. We were standing in line and a woman came in after us and had what I thought was her son with her. He seemed to have an intellectual disability, but I wasn’t sure. I wanted to connect with her, but didn’t really know how. When we got to the breakfast place, I realized that the woman was a special needs worker of some sort as she had 6 or 7 adults with Down syndrome and other special needs with her. They didn’t seem to have physical issues and all were eating and communicating to one degree or another.

Since the place was cafeteria-style with long rows of tables, we ended up sitting at a table with two ladies with Down syndrome. One was quiet and reserved and the other was making a lot of noise, shaking her head, sticking out her tongue and telling everyone that she was going to eat “two whole pancakes!” She was rather cute and was being a little silly. If I didn’t know any better, I’d guess that she was being funny and trying to get our attention.

My children have been exposed to a couple of children with special needs through Precious special needs preschool, but that was 2 years ago. After breakfast, I asked my 7 year-old daughter if she knew that even adults can have special needs. She said that she did and I told her that her sister will be an adult with special needs, too.

Wearing her new winter coat

We don’t hide anything from our kids. Sometimes it takes me a while to come to terms with something myself, then I let me kids in on it. When it come to ‘tough’ news, we don’t sugar coat things. We tell them the facts at their level and check in with how they are feeling about it. With Precious, this information is still over her head, but I know we’ll do the same with her when and if she understands.

How do you deal with sharing difficult news with siblings and other family members?

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