So I mustered up my courage and emotions today and talked to 4 out of my 6 classes about Tera. I told them that October was Down Syndrome Awareness month and that most of them probably did not know that my daughter has DS. They listened very attentively and quietly as I explained that I was telling them today for a few reasons. One, because it is Down Syndrome Awarenss month and that I did in fact want to make them aware. And two, because I've already missed a few days of school with her (only one related to the DS) but that there may be more days in the future that I miss due to hard to schedule appointments with specialists. I told them that there would be many days when I couldn't stay after school because of her therapy appointments and that while she is pretty healthy right now, I just don't know what the future holds.
I hadn't made a decision one way or the other that I would actually do this today but I decided there was no time like the present and just went for it. I have to say, doing it for the first time with my first hour class was difficult and I almost lost it, but the rest of my classes went much smoother.
I told each class that I really wanted them to feel comfortable asking me questions about DS whether it was something they were wondering about or something that they had heard about it and wanted clarified. I'm really hoping I do get questions because I want them to feel able to ask, but I also want them to be as informed as possible. I feel as though I just reached about 100 kids today and if they spread the news to their parents and friends, I might actually have a really good example of exponential growth that they can actually relate to (we're currently working on this concept in Algebra 2 and they always want to know when they'll ever use this)!
Their responses were great. One girl told me that she has a cousin who has it and another girl told me she had actually heard about Tera through her Facebook page last year but didn't know it was my daughter. Many others, including several teenage boys, told me how absolutely adorable she is (understandably).
It also gave me the opportunity to tout all the perks of Gigi's Playhouse with them. I have the calendar hanging in my classroom and was able to share with them what we've gotten from Gigi's and how they've been such a great source of support. It's nice to know that I'm not only spreading the word about DS, but about Gigi's as well.
So in conclusion, I'm really glad I did it, but I'm also glad I was able to get through it. Now I'm excited to hear some of the questions from the kids and it's so reassuring to know that by the end of the school year, they will probably have such a wealth of information that they probably wouldn't have received before.