Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Off Task

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Off Task

Article excerpt

Alice Is Almost 25

There is, of course, a sisterhood of those of us who have kids with Down Syndrome. Who else could understand some things? Singing loud with the headphones on, potty talk humor, misreading the numbers on the microwave ... A friend and I were musing that as our kids become adults, they are in many ways plowing new ground: Folks with Down Syndrome didn't used to live that long. Adults with Down Syndrome haven't been around in suchgreatnumbersthattheycommanded much research from medical science. Of course, there's always the possibility that they will become even more rare in the future given the rate of prenatal testing for congenital mishaps - there's a debate I don't like to enter into even with myself: Hmm, choose Alice not havingbeen born? Nope. But choose Alice havingbeen born without Down Syndrome? Well, duh! But still ... wait. It's so much of what she is ... and it really does bring out good stuff in other people, starting with her family (when it's not bringing out bad stuff, that is), and she is a happy person ... but is this just sweet lemons? It's hard for me to keep perspective.

So people ask us from time to time how long we plan to have her live at home. She could move into a group home or some other setting any time. I know ... and we'll get there, I'm sure. For now, I would feel guilty having taxpayers support her when she has a family that loves her. Plus, it's nice having her around most of the time (which I think is as good a percentage as you get with any roommate other than a newlywed); we enjoy music and movies and theater and weather and the tandem bicycle, and love to reminisce about family stuff.

I imagine I should be a little more opinionated about stuff like the implications of prenatal testing, and independent living for special needs folks, but I'm just not.

It's All in How You Say It

I've always been uncomfortable when reading medical reports that say the patient "denied using drugs during pregnancy" or "denies tobacco use." It sounds like someone has accused the patients and they are guiltily trying to redeem themselves.

It's kind oflike the difference between saying someone refused a change of placement or a service as opposed to declined, which sounds so much more polite.

I recently got a list titled "liabilities as assets" which has definite humor potential, but I think also has some good diplomacy lessons implied. Instead of calling a student stubborn, we could say s/he is persistent. …

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