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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Because She Has Down Syndrome

Over the summer Lucas and one of his friends made-up a sort of basket ball game they played several times. They drew several lines in chalk getting farther from the hoop. They would each take 3 shots and if they made a shot they moved back a line and if they didn't make it in 3 shots they stayed where they were until their next turn.

Kayla joined them in this game one day. At first she wasn't going anywhere - her shots were wide or high and she stayed on the first line.

Then Lucas said, "How about we get 3 shots but Kayla gets 4." His friend agreed, "Yeah she gets 4 shots." with no questions about why or complaints about it not being fair.

Kayla didn't really need the extra shot per round, in fact she started making several shots and most of the time they were within the first 3 shots.

I thought it was sweet that Lucas wanted to help her out by giving her an extra shot - maybe because I've explained to him how Down syndrome can affect people and that sometimes it takes her longer to learn things.

Then one day Lucas was playing this game with a different kid. He (the other boy) was getting frustrated that he wasn't making his shots and said they should have 4 turns. That must have triggered Lucas' memory because he said, "No actually we get 3 turns, but Kayla gets 4 turns."

This elicited a "That's not fair!" from the other boy.

Lucas responded with, "Yes it is because she has Down syndrome and she also doesn't have that good of an aim."

I don't think this other boy really knew what to make of that information, I think he said that his aim wasn't that good either. Again, Kayla didn't need to have an extra shot - all three of them were making shots as well as missing shots.

I debated saying something to Lucas, but hey, if he wanted to give his sister and extra shot who am I to intervene in a friendly driveway game?

ETA: A couple of comments suggested that the other kid should have been given an extra shot if he was struggling too and that he might have a disability or other issues such as coordination or an 'off day.'

I do know that child has ADHD and ODD, but remember that Lucas is only 7. He understands his sister to have a disability, but he wouldn't recognize something like ADHD in another child and equate that with offering him an extra shot. If it was a child much younger than him I'm pretty certain Lucas would have given that child an extra shot.

Honestly, if this child in question had a 4th shot and didn't make it he would've wanted a 5th shot. What he really wanted was to be able to take as many shots as he needed to make a basket and Lucas knew this from previous interactions with him. So a 'rule' of a turn being 3 shots wouldn't allow someone to stand and shoot over and over until they made it.

I did mention that I didn't think Kayla needed that extra shot - she made some and missed some just like they were doing, and she wasn't complaining or whining about missing any baskets. But I think Lucas is really aware of how much easier things are for him to accomplish and learn than they are for her. He sees how Kayla struggles to do so many things that he is easily able to do. I think in his mind he saw this kid as not having any 'issues' in the way he knows his sister to have issues and he probably thought he was being nice and helping Kayla out by letting her take an extra shot.

It was the first time I heard Lucas explain to someone about Kayla having Down syndrome and it made me feel like he would always look out for her - that he has her back even though he's the younger sibling - and that's really all my post was meant to convey.

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FlutistPride said...

I'm going to have to explain something like this to my teachers one day...

Anonymous said...

beautiful, Lucas always looking out for his sister. :} love grandma

gps said...

Actually, why shouldn't the other kid who is struggling also get 4 shots if he needs it that day? Shouldn't the lesson of inclusion apply to anyone?

FlutistPride said...

I agree with gps. That other kid might have dyspraxia, coordination issues, a visual impairment, or might just have had an "off day".

Mardra said...

My brother always gives me extra shots when we play pool. I love that about him. - Ms

Julie said...

Great post! My daughter is 5 and her brothers that have DS are 6 and 8 and she is just beginning to learn and understand that they have Down syndrome now that they are all in elementary school together. I think it is great that at 7 your son understands that DS doesnt mean she cant do things just that she might need a few more tries to do it. I do think it is silly for people to think he should be mature enough to stop and think, Hey, maybe my friend has a disability I cant see and I should give him more tries too. Love his heart though.