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Worth Repeating: "A Different Voice": Explaining my Child with Down syndrome to Her Sibling

Editor’s Note:  What a beautiful article by guest writer Hallie Levine Sklar, on Love That Max
by  Hallie Levine Sklar

About a month ago, right before bedtime, my four-year-old son Teddy crawled into my lap, wrapped his arms around me and said, “Mommy, why does Jo Jo talk in a different voice?”
“What do you mean, Teddy Bear?” I asked, smoothing back his bangs from his forehead, but of course I knew. Jo Jo is Teddy’s older sister. She’s five, with huge hazel eyes and a sensational mane of ash blonde hair. She also has Down syndrome.
“She talks in a different voice,” Teddy persisted, staring at me. He’s got the exact same eyes as Jo Jo, flecked with specks of brownish gold and green, but while hers have a slight almond tilt—one of the hallmarks of Down syndrome—his are wide set and round.
I hesitated. I wasn’t sure what to say. Jo Jo and Teddy are 17 months apart. For a while, they were like twins, and then, when Teddy turned two I watched as his verbal skills exploded overnight and he began to talk in elaborate sentences while my 3½-year-old daughter struggled still to say single words. Within a matter of weeks, he’d surpassed her developmentally, but he still played with her, still splashed in the bath with her and sang songs with her and insisted they draw together.
Read the Rest of this Article on Love That Max

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