Helping Kids Understand Down Syndrome


When Kennedy was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome, one of the first things we did was ask about ways to explain Down syndrome to our then 7 year old nephew and 10 year old niece. It is important to us that they understand what Down syndrome is and more importantly what it may mean for Kennedy. One of the best ways to do that was through books!

Our niece and nephew love reading and they love sharing these books with other kids, helping them to learn about the importance of inclusion and kindness. And, most importantly, they help teach that we are all more alike than different, but we should celebrate our differences. The first way to do that is to understand them.

Taking Down Syndrome to School by Jenna Glatzer

This is probably my favorite book of them all as the author really showcases the importance of inclusion in a school setting. And, that both kids with Down syndrome or other special needs get just as much out of an inclusive environment as their typically developing peers do.

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

This is a great book for younger children and gets at the heart of my favorite statement (more alike than different) – it shows kids that people with Down syndrome are able to do the same things that they are.

My Friend Has Down Syndrome by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

This book is great at showing kids that all kids are different – disability or not – and that we’re all good at different things. Plus, it shows kids that it’s not scary to befriend someone with Down syndrome.

My Friend Isabelle by Eliza Woloson

This book focuses on the similarities that all kids have and shows the value of friendship.

47 Strings: Tessa’s Special Code by Becky Carey (local author!)

This is a super special book that really helps kids to understand what Down syndrome is and what that may mean for people with it. This book has such a great message and helps kids (and parents a like) to understand that, “’47 Strings’ just means there is a little more of them to love”.

These are just a few of many great resources to help kids understand that people with Down syndrome truly are more alike than different.


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