Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Day 25 Guest Post: Letter to My Daughter's Teachers

a new facebook friend, jane, whose beautiful daughter also has Down syndrome, posted this yesterday in a small group that we both belong to, "smile".  this is a private group for parents of children who have Ds, to share our joys and concerns!   i really liked this, and asked if i could share it here.....enjoy!    
jane's beautiful daughter hannah,
the day of her first communion!


(I know that everyone has problems. This is a consideration of THIS problem.)
Please take a moment to imagine that my child is YOUR child.

Think about what it is like to live the life of the parent of a child with "special needs." Please understand, this life is not a bad life. It is a good life. But it is, at times, very difficult. Difficult in ways not thought of by people who don't live it.

Just for a moment---live this life. This is YOUR child. A very lovable, wonderful child. A beautiful child whom you love very, very much. But EVERY day when you send her off to school, you do not know what to expect. And sometimes, when the day is over, and things have not gone well, you have NO IDEA what to do about it.

You know you have a "special" child. A child who, in many ways, has exceeded all expectations. You also have a child who sometimes has behaviors which cause problems for her teachers, sometimes her peers, and most importantly, impede her own success and happiness.

And you never know FOR SURE if she has a real understanding of the appropriate behavior you are trying to teach.

Therefore you have no idea if you are doing the right things. You are even pretty sure that you have sometimes done the wrong things.

You have probably not done things that might have helped, maybe even done things that made matters worse. You have missed opportunities.

All you ever want is to make life better for this child. To help her reach her full potential----the same thing every parent wants for their child. But it is SO much harder to know HOW to do this---you don't even know what her potential is.

Sometimes you are afraid you expect too much. Often you are sure you expect too little.

And you never, EVER, know.

Some may say that NO parent ever really knows. ----of course that is true.

But, it is NOT THE SAME.


Sometimes it is very hard for you---the teacher. That is why I ask you to try to imagine our shoes. You have her for part of the day, for the span of one year. And then you move on.

This is our life. Every single hour of every single day. Yes, even when she is with you, she is with us.

For a lifetime.

We love our daughter very (VERY) much. We are not looking for anyone to feel sorry for us.

But, we would hope that you can have some understanding.

We particularly hope that you will try to understand if, sometimes, it seems that we question EVERYTHING that you do. In fact, we probably do----it is not meant to offend.

We also, question EVERY thing that WE do.


  1. What a good post :) I'm sure you're doing an awesome job.

  2. Aww, Hannah is beautiful! And that is such an interesting post. I'm not even sure that the "teachers" have the compassion or understanding inside themselves to care sometimes though. River's teachers don't. It is very much a J.O.B for them, and for that I am not sure I would want to waste my breath. It would be like talking to a wall. And, I do question what the teachers do, and I don't care if they are offended, because like Jane said... even when my boy is with them... he is still with me. I question me less, as his mom.

  3. And... the reason I am so annoyed at teachers is because my child is in PRESCHOOL!!!! He is at the age where he is still cute and precious, and OPEN to learning, and has a willingness to learn. Why on earth do they (teachers)have to be assholes and impatient with my boy? All they are doing is crushing his spirit. :/

  4. Wow. Cory. Sorry to hear THAT. I think the reason I got to this point was because her PRE-SCHOOL teachers were so AMAZING.(4th grade now) We still keep in touch with them in fact---and her aid from preschool baby-sits on a regular basis. Hugs and prayers to you!!


  5. Thanks, Jane. Didn't mean to sound like the angry commentor (is that a word, LOL). I actually just feel that about my boy's morning public school teachers. Two days a week he goes to a private school, and we do LOVE those teachers. I have kept him in the public school cuz he is just too bored at home, and we are sort of biding our time until I can figure out our next step. We think we need to transfer districts, but are wondering how to do that where we are. I guess I just feel that I would do the same thing for my typical child, and I do. The fact that River has Ds has never made me handle parenting differently between the two. Your post was very good. I don't want to take any thing away from it. Alot of people feel just that way.