Down Syndrome Awareness Month
The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Down syndrome is one of the most common types of intellectual disabilities and to raise awareness about the condition to advocate for acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome reading books such as You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion by Margaret O'hair celebrates being yourself from Down Syndrome adovacate Sofia Sanchez is great way to provoke discussion and awareness. Books are the greatest tool to understanding one another to help children cope, connect with characters are same or different, and learn to be more inclusive. This book also includes additional information about Down syndrome and how we can all be more understanding, more inclusive, and more kind.
After reading the book providing dolls or figurines in a child's environment that promote the value of equality allows children to learn about the diversity of us all which will help develop social skills such as empathy and tolerance. Dolls are packed with potential for teaching children about themselves and the world around them. Playing with dolls give children the power to show connection. They learn to be responsible and loving for the well-being of their doll and this lays the foundation for careful, empathetic connections when they are older. Doll play lets children work through strong emotions, practice life skills, gives them a venue to release their emotions in a safe way, and in this case be exposed race, gender and a condition to become more aware and accepting of diversity.
The importance to embrace differences, instill confidence, and establishing environments where everyone belongs is one of the most important messages to spread in our homes and classrooms. Spreading love, acceptance, inclusion and respect from an early age should be a foundation in all of our lives. Books and providing dolls are a great start to establishing a lifetime of inclusivity.